Stressed Aquifers Around the Globe

The Midwest and Great Plains are being hit by one of the worst droughts in decades and because of this, groundwater is taking a huge hit.  Farmers who draw from aquifers like the Ogallala aquifer especially have trouble because of the lack of rain.  This means that they are forced to draw even more water from the Ogallala.   Tom Gleeson, a hydrogeologist at Mcgill University said that, “Such aquifers are being deplete at an unsustainable rate in the long term.”  By calculating the necessary rainfall needed to replenish each aquifer and the amount of groundwater that would flow to bodies of water around each aquifer, they were able to figure out the level of stress on each aquifer.  This data was retrieved from the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Center which had data from more than 700 aquifers around the world.  Unfortunately, the results of this study showed that at the rate in which groundwater is being used around the world,  “demand for groundwater in several major agricultural regions of the world is unsustainable.”  In regions like the Ganges river in India and Pakistan, and the Central Valley in California, and North China, groundwater is heavily overused.  And according to Dr. Gleeson, now aquifers in Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Iran can be added to the list of endangered aquifers.  Dr. Gleeson also stated ways in which water managers could temper the use of groundwater.  One of which was, “encouraging farmers to use groundwater more efficiently when irrigating their crops.”  Impacts of depleted aquifer include decreased crops and therefore less food for our world.  Lack of groundwater is an extreme problem which needs to be fixed because water plays a huge role in our everyday lives and it is impossible to live without it. 

Ben Roberts

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/stressed-aquifers-around-the-globe/?ref=earth

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