Worldwide Demand for Water Outstrips Supply Study

Worldwide Demand for Water Outstrips Supply Study by Common Dreams, August 9, 2012
Almost one-quarter of the world’s population lives in regions where groundwater is being used up faster than it can be replenished, concludes a comprehensive global analysis of groundwater depletion, published this week in Nature. The world’s oldest and largest acquifers, according to the study, have supplied civilization with water for agricultural and industrial use for thousands of years, but are now under threat from over-extraction and the underground reservoirs can no longer replenish themselves at a sustainable rate. “This overuse can lead to decreased groundwater availability for both drinking water and growing food,” says Tom Gleeson, a hydrogeologist at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and lead author of the study. Eventually, he adds, it “can lead to dried up streams and ecological impacts”. … “To my knowledge, this is the first water-stress index that actually accounts for preserving the health of the environment,” says Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the study. “That’s a critical step.”

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