August 15, 2012

Aquifers under attack

Perhaps we don't need to worry about a Keystone oil pipeline contaminating our aquifers after all. It seems that we have been threatening the Ogallala aquifer (under 174,000 square miles of our Midwest) for a long time and rainfalls are not replenishing it.

Even in good years, farmers have drawn from it for irrigation. The last few years of drought have been especially taxing. You could say that really sucks. And if allowed to go dry, the Ogallala would take about 6,000 years to refill. Ponder that the next time you allow the faucet to run while you brush your teeth or rinse off your dished before loading the dishwasher or allow your sprinklers to run in the rain.

And it's not just Americans. Other aquifers around our planet are also being overused. Those in India and Saudi Arabia are in worse shape than ours. Nature magazine just revealed that "about 1.7 billion people live in areas where groundwater resources and/or groundwater-dependent ecosystems are under threat."

This is not the first time I've read this dire news. Quite a few years ago, some predicted "water wars" in our near future.

Recent news coverage has shared the startling info that aquifers in Mexico are threatened by the large amounts of fruits and veggies grown there for U.S. consumption.