Two new studies from the University of California Irvine have indicated that one-third of the world’s groundwater sources are quickly depleting, reported The Huffington Post.
Using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites gathered between 2003 and 2013, university researchers were able to determine that 21 of the world’s 37 largest aquifers have exceeded sustainability “tipping points.” This occurs when more water is used than is replenished.
Among the worst is the Californian Central Valley Aquifer System, which is classified as “highly stressed.” That means although some water is flowing back into the aquifer, it’s still in danger. The aquifer supplies 46 percent of the state’s water supply, and California’s four-year drought is putting a huge strain on the system.
The Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains Aquifer supplies water to Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, extends through the Carolinas up to New Jersey, and supplies parts of eastern Mexico. Though not as severely stressed as the California aquifer, the area is still using more water than can be naturally replenished.
“The situation is quite critical,” said Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. “The water table is dropping all over the world. There’s not an infinite supply of water.”
The most affected water table is the Arabian Aquifer, which supplies water to 60 million people and shows little to no signs of replenishing.
Over the last century, the harvest of groundwater has exponentially increased. There are many factors at play: increased population, fracking, and natural occurrences like droughts.
Japanese researchers in 2012 determined that a 40 percent rise in sea-level had “pumped out” some groundwater and used by humans or taken out to sea.
“We need to get our heads together on how we manage groundwater, because we’re running out of it,” said Famiglietti.
He’s right. However, any attempts made in America to regulate our water use are disrupted by Republicans serving their corporate puppet masters. Fracking and the bottled water industry use millions of gallons of water each year. Yet, they fight to keep wasting groundwater, winning each time.