Earth’s groundwater mostly unrenewable in human time

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❝An international team of hydrologists has found that much of the Earth’s groundwater isn’t renewable within a human lifetime after mapping out the important resource…❞

❝“The goal of this study was to calculate, for one of the first times, how much groundwater we have on this planet,” said Scott Jasechko, an assistant professor in the U of C’s department of geography who co-authored the study. “This is water that is held within pore spaces in rock and soils underneath our feet.

❝“Of all of the fresh and unfrozen water on this planet, about 99 per cent is groundwater.”…❞

❝Although the volume is immense, Jasechko said only a small, finite fraction of the resource is being replenished.

The study showed that six per cent of water in the uppermost portion of the Earth’s landmass is renewable within a human lifetime or 50 years.❞

❝The research comes as the global demand for water grows, particularly with climate change.

❝Jasechko said it provides important information for water managers and policy developers, as well as scientists, to manage groundwater resources in a more sustainable way…❞

❝Groundwater is an important resource, with about two billion people worldwide relying on it for drinking water. About 40 per cent of irrigation used for food production uses groundwater, said Jasechko.

❝It also supplies water and nutrients sustaining aquatic ecosystems in lakes and rivers.❞

Important point to make. As technology empowers water decisions ranging from re-ruse, recycling, desalination – there shouldn’t be any reason to short the husbanding of available groundwater. The expense of doing so – even as the economics of scale add to the ease of alternative means of providing water – still makes sensible use reasonable.

3 thoughts on “Earth’s groundwater mostly unrenewable in human time

  1. Cassandra says:

    “Thirsty cities, fields and livestock drink deeply from aquifers, natural sources of groundwater. But a study of three of the most-tapped aquifers in the United States shows that overdrawing from these resources could lead to difficult choices affecting not only domestic food security but also international markets. Reliance on these aquifers intensified so much from 2000 to 2008 that it accounted for 93 percent of groundwater depletion in the U.S. The U.S. Geological Survey identifies the Central Valley aquifer in California, the High Plains aquifer in the Great Plains states {which includes the Ogallala aquifer}, and the Mississippi Embayment aquifer in the lower Midwest as being managed unsustainably, which means that water is being extracted from the aquifer faster than it is replenishing.
    About 27% of the irrigated land in the United States overlies the Ogallala aquifer, which yields about 30% of the ground water used for irrigation in the U.S. and supplies drinking water to 82% of the 2.3 million people (1990 census) who live within the boundaries of the High Plains study area.

  2. Mike says:

    In 2015, NASA’s satellite data revealed that 21 of the world’s 37 large aquifers are severely water-stressed. With growing populations, and increased demands from agriculture and industry, researchers indicated that this crisis is only likely to worsen.
    Rajendra Singh, known as the “water man of India,” believes that critically depleted aquifers around the world can be revived with community effort. For the past 32 years, through his NGO Tarun Bharat Sangh (Young India Organization), Singh has led community-based water harvesting and water management initiatives in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, an arid, semi-desert state in the northwest of India. For his work, Singh was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2001, and the Stockholm Water Prize in 2015. (Interview) Small excerpt from much larger article, “The Third World War Will be About Water”, originally posted on Policy Innovations, the online magazine of Carnegie Council.

  3. Toffana says:

    “Did Nuclear Testing Contaminate Our Groundwater? : Research shows that fossil groundwater, which hasn’t seen the surface of the Earth for thousands of years, has trace amounts of radioactive isotopes as a result of 20th-century nuclear testing.” See also “The Poisoning of California’s Drinking Water : A little-known program under federal environment law is being used to permit oil and gas companies to inject waste into the state’s aquifers, even as the thirst for groundwater grows.

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