What is a Spring?
A spring is a reservoir of water, underground, that makes it way to the surface naturally (as opposed to a well, which can come from the same aquifer but is pumped out). In some cases, the surrounding rock exerts enough pressure to force the water out ... which can erupt right from the ground. Or, it can be channeled through a pipe, like this one.
This particular spring is a "flowing artesian well." The pressure that causes it to flow happens because the aquifer the water comes from is higher in elevation than the spring itself. This flows constantly, and has for many years. There is no pump, only water pressure.
Is all Spring Water Good?
Not all spring water is good, clean, or even safe to drink. The water quality of springs can vary widely. Some will be very clear and clean, like this one. Others can have minerals and metals that make the water cloudy, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, springs can become contaminated by surrounding groundwater and runoff.
The quality and even the flavor of each spring will be unique, and can vary depending on the season and recent weather. Some spring water is naturally carbonated, like that found in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Most springs accessible by the public are monitored by local health departments for water safety, to ensure they contain no pathogens such as bacteria, and are free of common contaminants.
Finding a Spring in Your Area
Word of mouth can be a great way to find a spring in your area. That's how I found this one. Also, your local township, city, or county offices should also be able to tell you where springs are located.
Find-A-Spring is a wonderful online resource that has listings for springs all over the world.
Storing Spring Water
Once you've found a spring, you'll want to store all that sparkling goodness properly. I collected the water in glass jars (I use THESE, and would like to get some of THESE soon), but plastic containers can be convenient and lighter to transport.
Store collected water in the refrigerator. It may be clean and mostly free of pathogens, but it's still possible for water to get a bacterial or algae overgrowth when left at room temperature for very long. Keeping it cold will limit the growth of anything it may contain.
On the way to the spring ...
... I pass by this ranch. They have "Texas Long Horn" cattle there. The mamas and the babies were in this field, enjoying each other on a beautiful and sunny day. They're lovely to look at and also surprisingly friendly. I'm happy I got to see them and that they live sort of happy lives. But, was also sad they won't live long ...
from Lisa Viger on Vimeo.