New study confirms we’re running out of water
Although it doesn’t sound as news to us Californians, the newest study conducted by the University of California should worry all of us nonetheless. That’s because its findings are terrifying – that a third of the world’s biggest groundwater sources are under stress. In other words, we are using much more water than that nature can supply us. Basically, we’re running out of water.
Underground sources are key to supply us with drinking water, especially when droughts are hitting hard. Given that they have become fairly common these days, the researchers thought that looking into the largest basins on Earth was worth a study. Thus, they use NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to analyze 37 of the biggest underground water supplies in the planet.
The results aren’t encouraging. Eight of them are overstressed, which means that its water levels are highly unlikely to be naturally replenished ever again. It’s not a coincidence that the most troubled ones are located in the world’s driest areas since they depend almost exclusively on underground water to get their supply.
Among them, the Arabian Aquifer System is the most compromised, which could mean increasing troubles for more than 60 million people living in the area. Basins located in India, Pakistan and northern Africa are also as compromised as the Arabian basin. And if we continue being affected by droughts, others will follow sooner than later.
We're not better in California. According to a last year study, more than 75 percent of water loss in the Colorado River Basin came from underground resources. In total, the basin lost 53 million acre feet (65 cubic kilometers) of freshwater in a decade. Such extent may end up being a greater threat to the water supply of the western United Stated than what was previously predicted. The bad thing is - we don't know how much water is left down there because there aren't studies about that.
What does that mean for all of us? Given that underground water is a major contributor in our water supply (especially in dry times), the researchers believe it’s high time to study these basins in detail to finally determine how much remaining storage is left. According to Alexandra Richey, lead author of the study, “. In a water-scarce society, we can no longer tolerate this level of uncertainty, especially since groundwater is disappearing so rapidly.”
In other words, it’s time to examine our water sources thoroughly to design a proper plan that can make the most out of what we have left and to think of alternatives to prevent this situation from getting worse. Basically, the writing is on the wall – it’s time for a massive change 4 better.