India’s 6th largest city is struggling with a depleted aquifer, and it is far from being alone. Despite the cataclysmic amount of rainfall parts of this country received this year (and many areas are still getting deluged) depleted aquifers are a serious threat worldwide.
According to Saving Our Oceans, there are 37 major aquifers on the planet. Of this number, 21 are on the verge of collapse. Beijing, Singapore, and Mexico City are literally sinking. Closer to home, El Paso Texas is now preparing for “toilet to tap” potable water due to the Hueco Bolson aquifer potentially running dry by 2025.
The technology already exists to treat human wastewater to drinking water standards, but for obvious reasons doing so has a poor public image. Other areas do this, however, and no one has ever gotten sick from the treated water.
In the mid-west which has one of the world’s largest aquifers, the Ogallala, a third of this aquifer’s water was used in only 30 years, largely by farmers withdrawing water at an unsustainable rate. California’s Central Valley aquifer is also showing signs of depletion.
And in southeast Arizona large corporations have bought up thousands of acres of land, drilled countless wells and are “groundwater mining,” withdrawing water far faster than it can be replenished.
Agriculture in general uses about 70% of water withdrawn from aquifers.
One rainy or snowy winter does not solve years of overuse. It can take decades for an aquifer to recharge.
You can read much more about this topic along with stunning information about fresh water contamination in Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield.
To quote Ben Franklin: When the well is dry we learn the worth of water.