Extremely significant to figuring out how we’re going to sustain life on this planet.
Groundwater shortage ‘critical’
23 Jan, 2012 04:00 AM
GROUNDWATER is a key driver of the global economy - but water will be scarce in critical food production regions by 2030 unless urgent steps are taken to protect it from over-extraction and pollution, international water scientists have warned.
A satellite study has proven groundwater tables in the United States, North Africa, India, the Middle East and China, are falling.
Professor Craig Simmons, Director of Australia’s National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and member of the UNESCO’s global groundwater governance program, said global groundwater use had more than doubled between 1960 and 2000 and continued to soar.
“Groundwater currently makes up about 97 per cent of all the available fresh water on the planet and presently accounts for about 40pc of our total water supply,” he said.
“Almost everywhere, there is clear evidence that water tables are falling.
“Not many people think of groundwater as a key driver of the global economy - yet it is.
“If it becomes depleted, entire industries may be forced to shut down or move. Whole regions could face acute water scarcity.”
Professor Simmons said the groundwater crisis was driven by a competition for increasingly scarce water supplies between “megacities”, the energy sector, manufacturing and farming.
“The blunt fact is that most countries and local regions did not know the size of their water resources when then began extracting them, nor how long it took to recharge. In some cases this can take centuries or even millennia.
“As a result they are now extracting their water unsustainably.”