Earth’s Water Supplies Failing – Prep For it NOW!
We’ve all been guilty over the millenia of taking a perpetual water supply for granted. But that confidence looks to be totally misplaced.
Hugely increasing demand especially from developing nations such as India and China are placing the planet’s aquifiers at extreme risk. We all need to start preparing for a water scarce world NOW, before it becomes way too late.
This is not scaremongering – make sure you read this deeply concerning article from USA Today:
Scientists using satellite data have found that a third of the world’s largest aquifers — in places ranging from China and India to the United States — are being rapidly depleted and are seriously threatened.
In two new studies, a team of researchers led by hydrologists from the University of California, Irvine assessed the depletion of groundwater on a global scale using readings from NASA satellites. They also concluded that although there is little solid information about how much water remains in aquifers, it’s likely much less than previously estimated, leaving big unanswered questions about how soon those reserves of groundwater might run out.
“If we continue to use groundwater the way it’s being used, then there’s a high chance that it could be depleted to the point that we can no longer use it in my lifetime in certain areas,” said Alexandra Richey, the lead author of the studies.
Richey said she was surprised to learn that rudimentary and widely varying estimates, in some cases dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, are often the only available guesses of how much groundwater remains in aquifers. She said that lack of hard data makes it crucial for there to be a major effort to explore aquifers and quantify the amounts of water that remain underground.
“There’s no way we can keep using these aquifers at the rates that we are without understanding what some of the tipping points are,” Richey said in a telephone interview.
HIGHLY STRESSED: CALIF. CENTRAL VALLEY
The researchers studied changes in the amounts of water in 37 major aquifers around the world between 2003 and 2013. Of those, 21 aquifers have declined, many of them in arid or semi-arid regions.
Thirteen of those declining aquifers — about one-third of the total — were classified as being “highly stressed,” “extremely stressed,” or “overstressed,” with the most severe situations seen in dry areas where little or no water is seeping into the ground to offset the amounts pumped out.
Some of the regions with the most pronounced depletion of groundwater also are major farming areas. The aquifer beneath California’s Central Valley, for instance, was labeled as highly stressed.
The researchers found the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies water to more than 60 million people, to be the most overstressed in the world, followed by the Indus Basin aquifer of northwestern India and Pakistan, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa.
“The red flags are that over half of the world’s biggest aquifers are being depleted. They are past sustainability tipping points, and a third of those big aquifers — 13 of those — are seriously distressed,” said Jay Famiglietti, a professor of earth system science at UC Irvine who co-authored the studies.
Famiglietti, who is also senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said given how quickly human civilization is consuming groundwater, “we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left.”
“It is crazy and it is unacceptable that we have not done the exploration of the world’s major aquifers, including those in the United States, that we absolutely need to do,” Famiglietti said. “If they were oil instead of water, they would have been plumbed to their great depths to understand the availability of the resource.”
Original image from flikr.com
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