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The development of water supplies for domestic consumption, and for those commercial and industrial uses requiring relatively pure water, has followed a pattern in the Piedmont and mountain areas of the southeast similar to that in most other humid areas. The first settlers utilized seepage springs on hillsides. Such springs occur along steep slopes where the water table intersects the land surface. As the population of the region grew, it became increasingly necessary to resort to shallow dug wells for domestic water supplies. Such wells also served as sources of water for the villages that developed, in time, around crossroad taverns. Seepage springs and dug wells are a satisfactory source of water in a virgin environment but are quickly polluted by careless waste-disposal practices. Thus disposal of domestic wastes in shallow pits resulted in epidemics of water-borne diseases as the villages grew into towns. This resulted in the third phase of water-supply development, which consisted of installing water lines and supplying water to homes from town-owned wells. In time, some of these wells became polluted and others failed to supply adequate water for the increasing needs of the larger urban areas. In the fourth phase these areas met their needs by drawing water from nearby streams. By the early years of this century it was possible to make this water palatable and relatively safe as a result of improvement in filtration methods. Streams, of course, have highly variable rates of flow and, as towns grew into small cities, the minimum flow of many streams was not adequate to meet the water-supply needs. This problem was solved in the fifth phase by building dams on the streams. We are still in this phase as we build larger and larger reservoirs to meet our growing water needs. Thus, through five phases of growth in the Piedmont and mountains we have advanced from the point where ground water was the sole source of supply to the point where it is the forgotten resource. For reasons to be explained below, a sixth phase can be foreseen in which ground water and surface water are recognized as parts of the hydrologic system with advantages in their conjunctive development and use.
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Better utilization of ground water in the Piedmont and mountain region of the southeast