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DocWatch
aquifers depletion
Twitterit?
News stories about "aquifers depletion," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?aquifers+depletion
Related Scary Tags:
water issues  ~ drought  ~ toxic water  ~ food crisis  ~ weather extremes  ~ contamination  ~ corporate farming  ~ fracking  ~ oil issues  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ climate impacts  



Sat, Feb 13, 2016
from Science Advances, via CommonDreams:
4 Billion People at Risk as 'Water Table Dropping All Over the World'
Freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global systemic risk. Previous global water scarcity assessments, measuring water scarcity annually, have underestimated experienced water scarcity by failing to capture the seasonal fluctuations in water consumption and availability. We assess blue water scarcity globally at a high spatial resolution on a monthly basis. We find that two-thirds of the global population (4.0 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of the year. Nearly half of those people live in India and China. Half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. Putting caps to water consumption by river basin, increasing water-use efficiencies, and better sharing of the limited freshwater resources will be key in reducing the threat posed by water scarcity on biodiversity and human welfare. ...


C'mon. Drought is just a market opportunity!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 28, 2015
from Vice:
21 of 37 Aquifers: The World Is Running Out of Water
Humans are depleting underground aquifers around the world at alarming rates, threatening hundreds of millions of people who rely on them for survival, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers from NASA and the University of California, Irvine. Twenty-one of the world's 37 largest aquifers are losing water at a greater rate than they're being refilled, falling victim to population growth and climate change. Thirteen of those diminishing water sources are experiencing "significant distress," including the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa, the Indus Basin of India and Pakistan, and the Central Valley Aquifer System in California. "It's very serious," Jay Famiglietti of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an author of the report told VICE News. "All over the world, we use more water than we have available to us on a renewable basis." ... "There's serious ecological damage being done right now. The ground is sinking in California, streams are being depleted, the water table is falling, wells are running dry, the quality of water is degrading," Famiglietti told VICE News. "We really are past these sustainability tipping points, so it sure as heck would be good to know how much water is left. We're depleting it very quickly." ...


Coincidentally, it just happens to overlap with a correlative causation. Thankfully, it has absolutely nothing to do with the rise of radicalism in these countries.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 12, 2015
from Fusion:
Drop by drop: Living through the So Paulo water crisis
According to Sabesp, the Brazilian water company, residents of So Paulo -- more than 10 million people -- should expect five days a week of restrictions and only two days of full service. There was no date given for our access to be restored. If the situation gets worse, people from So Paulo will need to move to other parts of the nation with adequate water. I don't have a wife or kids yet, but this is difficult for everyone. We are all worried we will become refugees. Since October of 2014, I've suffered from water rationing. I know friends and other colleagues who've had these problems since September 2014. This shortage was not an accident, nor an act of God: this is a result of twenty years of government neglecting the ecological management of the water supply. ...


Livin' la agua loca.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 3, 2014
from ThinkProgress:
NASA Bombshell: Global Groundwater Crisis Threatens Our Food Supplies And Our Security
An alarming satellite-based analysis from NASA finds that the world is depleting groundwater -- the water stored unground in soil and aquifers -- at an unprecedented rate.... The groundwater at some of the world's largest aquifers -- in the U.S. High Plains, California's Central Valley, China, India, and elsewhere -- is being pumped out "at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished." The most worrisome fact: "nearly all of these underlie the word's great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity." And this is doubly concerning in our age of unrestricted carbon pollution because it is precisely these semiarid regions that are projected to see drops in precipitation and/or soil moisture, which will sharply boost the chances of civilization-threatening megadroughts and Dust-Bowlification. ...


You can't frack water from a stone -- or can you??

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 18, 2014
from Washington Post:
West's historic drought stokes fears of water crisis
When the winter rains failed to arrive in this Sacramento Valley town for the third straight year, farmers tightened their belts and looked to the reservoirs in the nearby hills to keep them in water through the growing season. When those faltered, some switched on their well pumps, drawing up thousands of gallons from underground aquifers to prevent their walnut trees and alfalfa crops from drying up. Until the wells, too, began to fail. Now, across California's vital agricultural belt, nervousness over the state's epic drought has given way to alarm. Streams and lakes have long since shriveled up in many parts of the state, and now the aquifers -- always a backup source during the region's periodic droughts -- are being pumped away at rates that scientists say are both historic and unsustainable. ...


Waiter, there's fur in my aquifer!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Dec 8, 2013
from AFP:
Scientists discover vast undersea freshwater reserves
Australian researchers said Thursday they had established the existence of vast freshwater reserves trapped beneath the ocean floor which could sustain future generations as current sources dwindle. Lead author Vincent Post, from Australia's Flinders University, said that an estimated 500,000 cubic kilometres (120,000 cubic miles) of low-salinity water had been found buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.... The deposits were formed over hundreds of thousands of years in the past, when the sea level was much lower and areas now under the ocean were exposed to rainfall which was absorbed into the underlying water table. When the polar icecaps started melting about 20,000 years ago these coastlines disappeared under water, but their aquifers remain intact -- protected by layers of clay and sediment. Post said the deposits were comparable with the bore basins currently relied upon by much of the world for drinking water and would cost much less than seawater to desalinate. Drilling for the water would be expensive, and Post said great care would have to be taken not to contaminate the aquifers. ...


I bet if we fracked a pipeline out to those aquifers, we'd end up with a gusher here at home!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 24, 2013
from Huffington Post:
CNRL Primrose Oil Leak Likely Contaminating Aquifers
The leak at the Primrose oilsands project in northern Alberta has likely contaminated groundwater aquifers, the province states in an environmental order. Sticky bitumen, which rose to the surface over six months ago, says the order, "has entered local non-saline groundwater aquifers, likely contaminating the groundwater," according to the Edmonton Journal.... The new order confirms a major problem, groundwater contamination, and should raise a red flag about CNRL's high-pressure steam process known as fracking, for extracting bitumen, New Democrat environment critic Rachel Notley told the Edmonton Journal. ...


Well? Water yer options?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 27, 2013
from KSU, via PNAS and ScienceDaily:
Future Water Levels of Crucial Agricultural Aquifer Forecast
If current irrigation trends continue, 69 percent of the groundwater stored in the High Plains Aquifer of Kansas will be depleted in 50 years. But immediately reducing water use could extend the aquifer's lifetime and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110.... The study investigates the future availability of groundwater in the High Plains Aquifer -- also called the Ogallala Aquifer -- and how reducing use would affect cattle and crops. The aquifer supplies 30 percent of the nation's irrigated groundwater and serves as the most agriculturally important irrigation in Kansas. ...


Can't we just squeeze the earth harder?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 11, 2013
from Texas Tribune, in New York Times:
Experts Urge Focus on Aquifers in Push for Water From Mexico
At least 20 aquifers stretch across the United States-Mexico border, said Gabriel Eckstein, a professor at the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and the director of the International Water Law Project. Some are being mined at a record pace, he said. "I know you have a lot of agricultural interests in the Valley yelling and screaming about water in the Rio Grande; that is going to continue," he said. But of the 14 million people living within 50 miles of the border, "80 or 90 percent of them get their water from aquifers." "I would suggest that focusing on just the rivers is a mistake," he said. "Every state is pumping based on its own rules without actually quantifying how much water is in the aquifers." ...


Translation from the original Malthusian: "What's ours is mine."

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 23, 2013
from Texas Tribune:
Ogallala Aquifer in Texas Panhandle Suffers Big Drop
... The Ogallala wells measured by the district experienced an average drop of 1.87 feet from 2012 to 2013. That makes it one of the five or 10 worst drops in the district's more than 60-year history, said Bill Mullican, a hydrogeologist with the district. "There are some pretty remarkable declines," Mullican said. One well in the western part of the water district, he said, dropped 19 feet over the year. The vast majority of Texas is enduring a drought, but the Panhandle has been especially hard hit, causing farmers to pump more water to make up for the lack of rain. That depletes the amount of water stored in the aquifer over the long term, which means future generations will find less water to pump to grow crops.... "The general trend has been [that] the depletion in the High Plains Aquifer is more severe the further south you go," said Leonard Konikow, a USGS hydrologist and the study's author.... As to how much water is left, Konikow was not optimistic. In some hard-hit Texas portions of the Ogallala, "it appears that about half the aquifer's saturated thickness has dried up," he said. ...


Somebody had some way of describing this "used up half of a resource" thing, somehow or another. Was it "Speak" resource? "Beak" resource? Gimme a minute, it'll come to me...

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 22, 2013
from New York Times:
Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust
... And when the groundwater runs out, it is gone for good. Refilling the aquifer would require hundreds, if not thousands, of years of rains. This is in many ways a slow-motion crisis -- decades in the making, imminent for some, years or decades away for others, hitting one farm but leaving an adjacent one untouched. But across the rolling plains and tarmac-flat farmland near the Kansas-Colorado border, the effects of depletion are evident everywhere. Highway bridges span arid stream beds. Most of the creeks and rivers that once veined the land have dried up as 60 years of pumping have pulled groundwater levels down by scores and even hundreds of feet.... In 2011 and 2012, the Kansas Geological Survey reports, the average water level in the state's portion of the aquifer dropped 4.25 feet -- nearly a third of the total decline since 1996. And that is merely the average. "I know my staff went out and re-measured a couple of wells because they couldn't believe it," said Lane Letourneau, a manager at the State Agriculture Department's water resources division. "There was a 30-foot decline."... "Looking at areas of Texas where the groundwater has really dropped, those towns are just a shell of what they once were," said Jim Butler, a hydrogeologist and senior scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey. ...


"Peak Water" was so 20th century.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 13, 2012
from ProPublica:
Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation's Underground Water Supply
Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water. In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.... The recent surge in domestic drilling and rush for uranium has brought a spike in exemption applications, as well as political pressure not to block or delay them, EPA officials told ProPublica. "The energy policy in the U.S is keeping this from happening because right now nobody -- nobody -- wants to interfere with the development of oil and gas or uranium," said a senior EPA employee who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. "The political pressure is huge not to slow that down." ...


Water, water everywhere....

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 9, 2012
from Nature:
Demand for water outstrips supply
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. Across the world, human civilizations depend largely on tapping vast reservoirs of water that have been stored for up to thousands of years in sand, clay and rock deep underground. These massive aquifers -- which in some cases stretch across multiple states and country borders -- provide water for drinking and crop irrigation, as well as to support ecosystems such as forests and fisheries. Yet in most of the world's major agricultural regions, including the Central Valley in California, the Nile delta region of Egypt, and the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, demand exceeds these reservoirs' capacity for renewal. ...


Let them drink cake.

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Wed, Jul 4, 2012
from Texas Tribune:
Drought Caused Big Drop in Texas Portion of Ogallala Aquifer
The historic Texas drought caused the Ogallala Aquifer to experience its largest decline in 25 years across a large swath of the Texas Panhandle, new numbers from a water district show.... Further north in the Panhandle, along the state's border with Oklahoma, a second water district also registered large declines in the Ogallala. Steve Walthour, the general manager of the eight-county North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, calculated on Monday that the average drop in the Ogallala reached 2.9 feet last year.... As for this year, farmers say that spring rains have helped, but most of the Panhandle remains in moderate drought, or worse. Fondren is holding out hope for showers soon. "We're going to go back to pumping pretty hard again if we don't get some rain," he said. ...


No worries: the Texas legislature just designated the Ogallala Aquifer "too big to fail."

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 23, 2012
from Guardian:
Las Vegas plan to pump water across 300 miles of desert approved
Contentious plans to pump water across 300 miles of desert to Las Vegas were given the green light on Thursday. The ruling, from the state water engineer, Jason King, will allow the city to go ahead with a plan to draw water from four thinly populated valleys of eastern Nevada. King did not give Las Vegas all of the water it was seeking. But the award of nearly 84,000 acre-feet of water, from the Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys should help Las Vegas escape a worst-case scenario where it would run out of drinking water by the middle of the next decade.... Environmental groups, and a coalition of cattle ranchers and native Americans from eastern Nevada who have been fighting the project, said they would fight the decision in the courts. ...


What gets pumped to Vegas, stays in Vegas.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 20, 2011
from UPI:
Great Plains water pumping imperils fish
Great Plains river basins are threatened by pumping of groundwater from aquifers, risking a bleak future for native fish in many streams, U.S. researchers say. Unlike alluvial aquifers, which can be replenished with rain and snow, these regional aquifers were created by melting glaciers during the last Ice Age, the researchers say, and when that water is gone, it's gone for good.... In a three-year study of the Arikaree River in eastern Colorado, researchers concluded that during the next 35 years only slightly more than half of the current fish refuge pools would remain. Falke and his colleagues say it would require a 75 percent reduction in the rate of groundwater pumping to maintain current water table levels and refuge pools, which is "not economically or politically feasible," the study said. Pumping of regional aquifers is done almost entirely for agriculture, Falke said, with about 90 percent of the irrigation aimed at corn production, along with some alfalfa and wheat. ...


If God didn't want us to use that water, He wouldn't have made it available. Right?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 7, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Mining water in the Mojave
Some believe this lush farm in the unlikeliest of places also sits atop a partial solution to Southern California's water woes. By tapping into an aquifer the size of Rhode Island under the 35,000-acre Cadiz ranch, proponents say they can supply 400,000 people with drinking water in only a few years.... "Do we need additional water supplies? Yes. Do we need groundwater storage? Yes," said Winston Hickox, a Cadiz board member who headed the California Environmental Protection Agency. "The question is 'OK, environmental community, what are your remaining concerns?' I don't know." But conservationists including the Sierra Club remain worried. Critics say the company has misrepresented the size of the aquifer and that mining it could harm the threatened desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, as well as the nearby Mojave National Preserve which has some of the densest and oldest Joshua tree forests in the world. Concerns over rare desert species were also echoed by state Department of Fish and Game biologists in March. Conservationists also worry tampering with an aquifer in a place where water is so scarce could cause dust storms. ...


Some things are just too hard to figure out.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 6, 2011
from Miami Herald:
Wall of saltwater snaking up South Florida's coast
South Florida's lakes, marshes and rivers pump fresh, crystal clear water across the state like veins carry blood through the body. But cities along South Florida's coast are running out of water as drinking wells are taken over by the sea. Hallandale Beach has abandoned six of its eight drinking water wells because saltwater has advanced underground across two-thirds of the city. "The saltwater line is moving west and there's very little that can be done about it,” said Keith London, a city commissioner for Hallandale Beach, who has worked on water conservation and reuse for the last decade. A wall of saltwater is inching inland into the Biscayne Aquifer -- the primary source of drinking water for 4.5 million people in South Florida. ...


Cue musical theme from "Salty Jaws."

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 30, 2011
from Desmogblog:
Infographic Shows how Keystone Pipelines are 'Built to Spill'
Since commencing operation in June of 2010, the Keystone I pipeline has suffered more spills than any other 1st year pipeline in U.S. history. In addition to a nasty spill record, the proposed Keystone XL will cross one of the largest aquifers in the world - the Ogallala - which supplies drinking water to millions and provides 30 percent of the nation's groundwater used for irrigation. Pipeline construction will also disrupt 20,782 acres, including 11,485 acres of native and modified grassland, rangeland and pastureland, and pipeline construction will threaten sensitive wildlife and aquatic species habitats. According to the EPA, carbon emissions from tar sands crude are approximately 82 percent higher than the average crude refined in the U.S. Given the extremely toxic nature of tar sands bitumen and the fact that Keystone is TransCanada's first wholly owned pipeline in the U.S., it seems reasonable to look to TransCanada's performance with Keystone I for clues on how it would manage Keystone XL. And the clues are telling. ...


I'm confident they'll self-regulate!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 15, 2011
from Indian Country Today:
Navajo Aquifer Concerns May Prove True
For years, Native opponents of a massive strip mine on Black Mesa in northern Arizona have said longstanding extractive practices of Peabody Energy Corp. (formerly Peabody Western Coal Co.) have depleted a major aquifer on which they depend and a recent analysis seems to bear them out. "The mining-related impacts on the aquifer are more significant than have been recognized or acknowledged," said Dr. Daniel Higgins, who performed the analysis as part of Arid Lands Resource Studies, graduate interdisciplinary programs, University of Arizona, Tucson.... The aquifer Higgins studied for more than five years provides drinking water to Native communities and is a source of water below Black Mesa that feeds sacred springs. Opponents object to the further industrial use of the pristine aquifer water.... But it's not like a bank account, he explained,"because being able to see any change or reversal (in aquifer depletion) is going to take a tremendous amount of time in a large aquifer. The impacts will get worse before they get better--it's not like flipping a switch." A federal geochemical analysis in 1997 determined that 90 percent of the water in the N-Aquifer is 10,000 to 35,000 years old. "Technically, that 90 percent of the water is not replenishable on a human time-scale but only on a geological time-scale," he said. ...


"Industrial use" and "sacred springs" mix like coal and water.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 13, 2011
from LA Times:
WikiLeaks behind-the-scenes politics of oil pipeline from Canada
But a 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa suggests the scale may have already been tipped. The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks, describes the State Department's then-energy envoy, David Goldwyn, as having "alleviated" Canadian officials' concerns about getting their crude into the U.S. It also said he had instructed them in improving "oil sands messaging," including "increasing visibility and accessibility of more positive news stories." Goldwyn now works on Canadian oil sands issues at Sutherland, a Washington lobbying firm, and recently testified before Congress in favor of building the 36-inch underground pipeline, Keystone XL. Environmentalists and industry experts say the cable is among several examples from unguarded moments and public documents that signal the administration's willingness to push ahead with the controversial pipeline, even as its agencies conduct environmental and economic reviews.... Keystone XL would thread through the vast Ogallala aquifer, the main drinking water source for the U.S. Midwest. The Keystone I system has had a dozen leaks in the last year, stoking fears of a spill in the aquifer from the new pipeline. More environmental concerns arose this month after an ExxonMobil pipeline leaked up to 42,000 gallons into the Yellowstone River in Montana, under which Keystone XL would also run. Keystone XL's backers dismiss the environmental claims as overblown and contend that the oil industry is working hard in Alberta on land reclamation and reducing emissions. TransCanada has said that the Keystone I spills were small and easily cleaned up. Environmentalists remain skeptical. ...


Don't worry, partner. We'll put the "eh" in "right of w'eh" for ya.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from Guardian:
China told to reduce food production or face 'dire' water levels
China needs to reduce food production on its dry northern plains or aquifers will diminish to a "dire" level in 30 years, one the country's leading groundwater experts has warned. Zheng Chunmiao, director of the Water Research Centre at Peking University, said the world's most populous country will have to focus more on demand-side restraint because it is becoming more expensive and difficult to tap finite supplies below the surface.... Over the past 10 years, Zheng estimates the annual water deficit in northern China at 4bn cubic metres. This is increasingly made up from underground sources, which account for 70 percent of water supplies. Although some aquifers remain 500 metres thick, others are emptying at an alarming rate. This has created depletion cones, the deepest of which is at Hengshui near Xizhuajiang.... Zheng said much more needs to be done, including demand reduction, water transfers and greater use of desalination plants. "We will get there because we have to," he said. "If nothing changes, then in 30 years, we will face a dire situation." ...


Surely we'll then find some other million-year-storehouse of something else that we can deplete.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 18, 2011
from Xinhua News Agency:
Drought leaves 1,400 reservoirs 'dead' in C China
A lingering drought in Central China's Hubei province has rendered 1,392 reservoirs virtually useless as only dead water remains in them, said the local water authority Monday. Known as the "land of a thousand lakes" and a major producer of grain and cotton in the country, Hubei is suffering from a drought that has lasted for five months. As of Sunday, water in four medium-sized and 1,388 small-sized reservoirs had dropped below the allowable discharge level for irrigation and other purposes...the drought had left about 315,000 people and 97,300 livestock in the province short of drinking water. ...


Land of parched tongues.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 25, 2011
from Toronto Star:
Activists embark on five-day walk to protest 'mega quarry'
Farmers, ranchers and First Nations groups embarked on a 115-kilometre trek to Melancthon Township on Friday to show their opposition to a "mega quarry" planned for the region. The group departed on foot from Queen's Park, where roughly 200 people had gathered to discuss the project's potentially negative impact on the region's water, farming and quality of life.... "It's going to be the second-largest quarry in North America["]...The application for the project, put forward by The Highland Companies, says the limestone quarry planned for Dufferin County will use 600 million litres of groundwater every day... ...


Sometimes, just getting up off your butt is the hardest part.

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40 percent within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth
Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned. A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said. In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers. Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production. ...


That's why I'm sticking with my Diet Coke.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 26, 2011
from ProPublica:
Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling
But in the spring of 2005, Meeks' water had turned fetid. His tap ran cloudy, and the water shimmered with rainbow swirls across a filmy top. The scent was sharp, like gasoline... In that process, called hydraulic fracturing, a brew of chemicals is injected deep into the earth to lubricate the fracturing and work its way into the rock. How far it goes and where it ends up, no one really knows. Meeks wondered if that wasn't what ruined his well. Meeks couldn't have foreseen it when he began raising questions about his water, but hydraulic fracturing was about to revolutionize the global energy industry and herald one of the biggest expansions in U.S. energy exploration in a century.... As a result, drilling was about to happen in states not typically known for oil and gas exploration, including Michigan, New York and even Maryland. It would go from rural, sparsely populated outposts like Pavillion to urban areas outside Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh. Along the way, a string of calamitous accidents and suspicious environmental problems would eventually make hydraulic fracturing so controversial that it would monopolize congressional hearings, draw hundreds in protests and inspire an Academy-Award-nominated documentary produced for Hollywood. Louis Meeks, unintentionally, would be a part of that fight from the very beginning. His personal fight began with something simple: the energy industry's insistence that fracturing couldn't contaminate water. ...


That well-water smells just fine to me.

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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Mon, Feb 7, 2011
from United Nations University, via EurekAlert:
Pollutants in aquifers may threaten future of Mexico's fast-growing 'Riviera Maya'
Pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, shampoo, toothpaste, pesticides, chemical run-off from highways and many other pollutants infiltrate the giant aquifer under Mexico's "Riviera Maya," research shows. The wastes contaminate a vast labyrinth of water-filled caves under the popular tourist destination on the Yucatan Peninsula. The polluted water flows through the caves and into the Caribbean Sea. Land-sourced pollution may have contributed, along with overfishing, coral diseases, and climate change, to the loss since 1990 of up to 50 percent of corals on the reefs off the region's coast. And, with a 10-fold increase in population through 2030 expected, the problems are likely to worsen, according to research published today in the journal Environmental Pollution.... While the levels of pollution found are not considered a health threat today, "the data provided in this study raise some concerns about the potential for human exposure from the consumption of contaminated drinking water." ...


I thought we flushed that shit away.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 3, 2011
from National Geographic News:
"Mining" Groundwater in India Reaches New Lows
Nearly a third of India is suffering from chronic water shortages, and making up for it with "the world's largest groundwater mining operation," according to experts. A band of land stretching across northern India, at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains, is one of the most heavily populated and intensely irrigated regions in the world. The area is chronically short of water. But the region still has a limited supply of it in underground aquifers, according to water resources expert Shama Perveen of Columbia University. According to a new study by Perveen and her colleagues, Upmanu Lall and Naresh Devineni, some parts of India are using groundwater three times faster than it's being replenished. ...


Pretty soon, all that'll be left in those aquifers... is fur.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 8, 2010
from Earth Institute:
Parched for Peace: The Fertile Crescent Might Be Barren
Hydrology experts and research scientists at the conference reported that between 2002 and 2008, the [Syrian] national water supply fell from 1,200 to less than 750 cubic meters per person per year, a decrease of over 35 percent. At the conference, scientists and hydrological engineers expressed concern over not only the low water supply itself but also, the rapid rate of decline. Many were not surprised by the news, however, pointing to Syria's notoriously inefficient water policies and supply systems. Consequently, many also pointed out that with some reform in these two areas, Syria could easily meet its water needs. A key aspect to such efficiency reforms will be changing agricultural practices. Crop irrigation currently constitutes 80 percent of Syria's water consumption and due to the continued application of outdated techniques (such as flood irrigation), more than 70 percent of this water is wasted through evaporation and runoff.... Climate scientists say that the entire Fertile Crescent - which encompasses all of Syria and much of neighbor Iraq - might be turning barren. Such a permanent, drastic decline in agriculture in the face of diminishing oil reserves and declining foreign investments would spell disaster for Syria. Iraq faces a similarly tenuous future: agriculture there has been all but decimated by years of warfare and drought. The collapse of farming is presenting extreme economic challenges as well as safety concerns: both Syria and Iraq are becoming increasingly dependent on imported food and water, and both face growing numbers of displaced migrants no longer able to glean profit or sustenance from farming. ...


Why can't they just turn their faucets up to 11?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 12, 2010
from AFP, via Yahoo News:
Beijing to melt snow to address water shortage
Beijing will collect and melt snow this winter in a bid to quench the water shortage that has plagued the Chinese capital for years, state media reported Friday. Two vehicles with high-powered heaters capable of processing around 100 cubic metres (3,500 cubic feet) of snow and ice an hour will be sent to locations around Tiananmen Square, the Global Times said. Clean snow will also be dumped into dammed sections in three rivers that drift through the city to be used for road cleaning, irrigation and to supplement the rivers' water levels, it said. Additional snow-melting areas have been assigned citywide, it added.... Water consumption in Beijing, with a population of nearly 20 million and growing, rose to 3.55 billion cubic metres last year, compared with its water supply of 2.18 billion cubic metres, the Global Times said. ...


Apocaiku:
Beijing's borrowing / from the cold bank of winter / to pay water debt.

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Sun, Nov 7, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Urine for sale? South African city wants to buy
Get paid to pee. That's the deal on offer in the South African city of Durban, where the city is looking to buy liquid waste to encourage residents to use dry toilets.... Aiming to improve hygiene and save money, the port city has installed in home gardens about 90,000 toilets that don't use a single drop of water. Now Durban wants to install 20-litre (quart) containers on 500 of the toilets to capture urine -- rich in nitrates, phosphorus and potassium, which can be turned into fertiliser. A municipal worker would collect the jerry cans once a week and could pay around 30 rands (four dollars, three euros) to the family -- not a small sum in a country where 43 percent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.... "If we can turn the toilets into a source of revenues, then they will want to use the toilets," said Neil MacLeod, Durban's head of water and sanitation.... "South Africa is a water-stressed country," said Teddy Gounden, who heads the project. "With the increase in demand for drinking water, we cannot afford to flush this valuable resource down the sewer." ...


The business opportunities in a high-demand, low-supply world are astonishing!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 3, 2010
from New York Times:
Rising Seas and the Groundwater Equation
Worldwide overpumping of groundwater, particularly in northern India, Iran, Mexico, northeastern China and the American West, more than doubled from 1960 to 2000 and is responsible for about 25 percent of the rise in sea level, according to estimates in a new study by a team of Dutch researchers published in Geophysical Review Letters. The general idea that groundwater used for irrigation is running off into ocean-bound rivers or evaporating into the clouds, only to end up raining into the ocean, has been around for two decades or so; it was a focus of a 2005 paper in The Journal of Hydrogeology. But Peter H. Gleick, a leading expert on water issues, said the new paper offers a fresh way of quantifying the phenomenon. Mr. Gleick, president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, said that experts on groundwater issues "have known for a long time that that water ultimately ends up in the oceans and contributes to sea level rise. What we haven't known is the magnitude and severity of the problem." ...


The sky IS falling!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 25, 2010
from AGU:
Groundwater depletion rate accelerating worldwide
In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, say scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use. These fast-shrinking subterranean reservoirs are essential to daily life and agriculture in many regions, while also sustaining streams, wetlands, and ecosystems and resisting land subsidence and salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies. Today, people are drawing so much water from below that they are adding enough of it to the oceans (mainly by evaporation, then precipitation) to account for about 25 percent of the annual sea level rise across the planet, the researchers find. Soaring global groundwater depletion bodes a potential disaster for an increasingly globalized agricultural system, says Marc Bierkens of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and leader of the new study. "If you let the population grow by extending the irrigated areas using groundwater that is not being recharged, then you will run into a wall at a certain point in time, and you will have hunger and social unrest to go with it," Bierkens warns. "That is something that you can see coming for miles." ...


If Nature didn't want that water used, she'd have buried it far from where humans could find it.

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Tue, Sep 21, 2010
from Financial Times:
Arid cities face future without water
Nestling in Yemen's rugged highlands, the city of Sana'a has hosted ancient dynasties and survived countless foreign invaders during its more than 2,500 years of existence.... Yet today Sana'a is facing a crisis that has the potential to threaten its existence as the Yemeni capital. Man and nature have combined to rob it of its most precious resource - water. "If we continue at this rate, water will be completely gone from Sana'a in the next 10-12 years," says a Yemeni government official.... In 2008, the equivalent of $500m in diesel subsidies was used to pump water for agriculture, almost half of it in the Sana'a basin, the official adds. ...


Dang! I keep forgetting we can't just grow forever!

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Wed, Jul 21, 2010
from NRDC:
More than One Out of Three U.S. Counties Face Water Shortages Due to Climate Change
More than 1,100 U.S. counties -- a full one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states -- now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of global warming, and more than 400 of these counties will be at extremely high risk for water shortages, based on estimates from a new report by Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The report uses publicly available water use data across the United States and climate projections from a set of models used in recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work to evaluate withdrawals related to renewable water supply. The report finds that 14 states face an extreme or high risk to water sustainability, or are likely to see limitations on water availability as demand exceeds supply by 2050. These areas include parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. In particular, in the Great Plains and Southwest United States, water sustainability is at extreme risk. ...


Thank goodness we don't require the Great Plains states!

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Sat, Jun 26, 2010
from Texas Tribune:
How Bad Is the Ogallala Aquifer's Decline in Texas?
Stretching across eight states, the amount of water is so vast that, according to one writer, it could fill Lake Erie nine times over. Within Texas, the Ogallala accounts for about 40 percent of all water use. But the aquifer's levels are declining sharply here. In a dry growing season last year, the High Plains Water District, which includes all or part of 15 Panhandle counties, recorded an average drop of 1.5 feet, the most since 1997. The rains have returned, but the 2007 state water plan projects that the Ogallala's volume will fall a staggering 52 percent between 2010 and 2060, as corn and cotton growers continue to draw from its depths.... In general, he says, Texans are probably pumping the Ogallala at about six times the rate of recharge.... Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day has the potential to gut the state's ability to regulate groundwater through local districts, by making them more vulnerable to court challenge. If it goes the other way -- and the court decides landowners do not have an ownership right in groundwater -- then Johnson says that districts would have few limits on their ability to restrict groundwater use. ...


That's the Texas Six-sip.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 13, 2010
from New York Times:
Vital River Is Withering, and Iraq Has No Answer
Withered by decades of dictatorial mismanagement and then neglect, by drought and the thirst of Iraq's neighbors, the river formed by the convergence of the Tigris and the Euphrates no longer has the strength the keep the sea at bay. The salt water of the gulf now pushes up the Faw peninsula. Last year, for the first time in memory, it extended beyond Basra, Iraq's biggest port city, and even Qurna, where the two rivers meet. It has ravaged fresh-water fisheries, livestock, crops and groves of date palms that once made the area famous, forcing the migration of tens of thousands of farmers.. In a land of hardship and resignation and deep faith, the disaster along the Shatt al Arab appears to some as the work of a higher power. "We can't control what God does," said Rashid Thajil Mutashar, the deputy director of water resources in Basra. But man has had a hand in the river's decline. Turkey, Syria and Iran have all harnessed the headwaters that flow into the Tigris and Euphrates and ultimately into the Shatt al Arab, leaving Iraqi officials with little to do but plead for them to release more from their modern networks of dams. ...


Working together with those next-door-neighbors, I'm sure we can keep the Malthusian commons green.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 10, 2010
from National Geographic News:
Underground "Fossil Water" Running Out
In the world's driest places, "fossil water" is becoming as valuable as fossil fuel, experts say. This ancient freshwater was created eons ago and trapped underground in huge reservoirs, or aquifers. And like oil, no one knows how much there is--but experts do know that when it's gone, it's gone....paleowater is the only option in many water-strapped nations. For instance, Libya is habitable because of aquifers--some of them 75,000 years old--discovered under the Sahara's sands during 1950s oil explorations. The North African country receives little rain, and its population is concentrated on the coasts, where groundwater reserves are becoming increasingly brackish and nearing depletion. ...


I fear there will be fur in my aquifer.

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Mon, Apr 19, 2010
from BBC:
UK water use 'worsening global crisis,' 'unsustainable.'
The amount of water used to produce food and goods imported by developed countries is worsening water shortages in the developing world, a report says. The report, focusing on the UK, says two-thirds of the water used to make UK imports is used outside its borders.... "We must take account of how our water footprint is impacting on the rest of the world," said Professor Roger Falconer, director of the Hydro-Environmental Research Centre at Cardiff University and a member of the report's steering committee.... Embedded in a pint of beer, for example, is about 130 pints (74 litres) of water - the total amount needed to grow the ingredients and run all the processes that make the pint of beer. A cup of coffee embeds about 140 litres (246 pints) of water, a cotton T-shirt about 2,000 litres, and a kilogram of steak 15,000 litres. ...


I didn't know you could concentrate water.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 6, 2010
from Bombay Economic Times:
Groundwater depleting at alarming rate: Report
If current trends of acute groundwater use continue, 60 percent of all aquifers in India could run dry in 20 years or will be in a critical condition, a World Bank report launched on Friday said. It has urged priority action through higher investment in management of groundwater resources to reduce over exploitation, especially in view of the fact that there is major dependence by several sectors on the resources countrywide. Groundwater resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. Today, 29 percent of groundwater blocks are semi-critical, critical, or overexploited, and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. ...


Groundwater will contain more "fer" than "aqui."

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Fri, Feb 26, 2010
from Daily Kansan:
Decreasing water levels raise problems
But these days in southern Meade County, located about five hours southwest of Lawrence, the Ross farm is restricted by declining water levels. Old sprinklers stand in fields with no chance of spreading water over the crops. Streams, creeks and ponds slowly turn to dust, revealing the lack of water available. As the water levels drop, these sights will become more common. Since 1996, the water levels in southwest Kansas have declined, except for a 1.2-inch increase in 1998, said Brownie Wilson, Geographic Info System and support services manager at Kansas Geological Survey. Irrigation started in the 1950s and '60s, and with the ability to obtain and use more water, large-scale production soaked up the water in the underground Ogallala aquifer. Increased water usage allowed Kansas' agriculture industry to make millions.... Wells averaged water level drops of 2 to 5 feet, but drops as low as 10 feet occurred in some areas of southwest Kansas this year, said Wilson. Though the water levels are visibly receding, the Kansas Division of Water Resources records the water movements every year so the exact amount of the decrease is known. So far, results have shown decreasing water levels throughout the state, except for a surprising increase in northwest Kansas, Wilson said. ...


Water, water, underwhere, but not a drop to spare.

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Tue, Dec 15, 2009
from Reuters:
California aquifers seen rapidly losing water
California's two main river basins and the aquifers beneath its agricultural heartland have lost nearly enough water since 2003 to fill Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, new satellite data showed on Monday. Depleted aquifers account for two-thirds of the loss measured, most of it attributed to increased groundwater pumping for irrigation of drought-parched farmland in California's fertile but arid Central Valley, scientists said. The findings have major implications for the economy as the Central Valley is home to one-sixth of all irrigated U.S. cropland, said Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine, and member of the research team.... Central Valley farms have increasingly tapped into aquifers during the past few years to help offset drastic cuts in their regular allocations of irrigation water pumped in by the state and federal government from farther north. How much water remains in California's aquifers is unknown, but satellite studies show that groundwater is being used up faster than nature can restore it. ...


Good to the last drop.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 1, 2009
from New York Times:
Thirsty Plant Dries Out Yemen
Even as drought kills off Yemen's crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.... Meanwhile, the market price of water has quadrupled in the past four years, pushing more and more people to drill illegally into rapidly receding aquifers. "It is a collapse with social, economic and environmental aspects," said Abdul Rahman al-Eryani, Yemen's minister of water and environment. "We are reaching a point where we don't even know if the interventions we are proposing will save the situation." Meanwhile, the water wells are running dry, and deep, ominous cracks have begun opening in the parched earth, some of them hundreds of yards long. ...


You'll pry my qat from my cold, emaciated hands.

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Tue, Oct 27, 2009
from BBC:
Gaza thirsts as sewage crisis mounts
Gaza's aquifer and only natural freshwater source is "in danger of collapse," the UN is warning. Engineers have long been battling to keep the densely populated strip's water and sewage system limping along. But in September the UN Environment Programme warned that damage to the underground aquifer - due to the Israeli and Egyptian blockade, conflict, and years of overuse and underinvestment - could take centuries to reverse if it is not halted now.... Lagoons designed to allow treated clean water to infiltrate through Gaza's sandy soil back down into the aquifer are instead funnelling sewage straight back into the groundwater. In addition, with several years of drought and the digging of hundreds of illegal, unregulated wells, the UN Environmental Programme says at least three times more water is extracted than is replenished each year. As the level is dropping in the aquifer, sea water is invading. ...


Sounds like a little salt might help.

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Thu, Oct 22, 2009
from SolveClimate:
Dangers of Climate Change: Lack of Water Can Lead to War
Climate change leads to higher temperatures. Higher temperatures lead to melting glaciers, so snow-melt-based water supplies decrease. Climate change also leads to more irregular rainfalls. Under most climate models, rainfall is predicted to occur more frequently in brief, furious bursts rather than the more sustained and regularized patterns that make it easy to store and irrigate crops. A recently-released World Bank study notes that there is now strong reason to believe that rainfall variability will increase substantially in Sub-Saharan Africa, reducing GDP and heightening poverty. Previous evidence from Ethiopia, for example, showed that just one season of sharply reduced rainfall "depressed consumption" up to five years later.... Water is basic. When there's not enough of it, people die. When there's not enough to keep crops properly irrigated, there's famine. So it's not a big shock that when water decreases, conflict over it increases. Or to put it more simply, a lack of water leads to war. ...


Water? C'mon, what about rain? Sheesh, I can get AquaFina from any machine!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 16, 2009
from Independent Online (South Africa):
Playing roulette with our water
South Africa's water crisis lies in the country's persistent denial that there is a problem, says Dr Anthony Turton, water expert. "It lies in the pitiful fact that we are dooming future generations to the misery of poverty by failing to recognise that what we have done thus far can no longer be done in the future, simply because the assumptions on which previous solutions were based are no longer valid," he said.... Turton told the Sunday Independent that the water crisis was "way bigger than any ordinary person will ever realise".... We have simply failed to translate what scientists have known for decades... so now we have no solutions and are left at the vagaries of nature... It is Russian Roulette and soon the loaded round will be in the chamber when we pull the trigger," said Turton. ...


That loaded round is just a theory.

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Tue, Oct 6, 2009
from BBC:
Egypt oasis risks becoming mirage
...Siwa is a nine-hour drive from Cairo, across some of the most barren desert anywhere on the planet. It sits 18 metres below sea level, the main oasis surrounded by green desert islands where water naturally springs to the surface. Beneath the sandstone is the Nubian aquifer an enormous - yet finite - supply of fossilised water that has flowed for thousands of years... In the past 20 years the water, that once flowed naturally from beneath the rocks, has been sucked at alarming rate from hundreds of man-made wells....And some believe without a more concerted effort by all parties, these green dots in the desert might suddenly and irrevocably disappear from the map. ...


Sounds like the story of earth itself: from oasis to mirage...

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 26, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
World goes into 'ecological debt'
The global recession meant "ecological debt day" on September 25 fell a day later than the previous year for the first time in 20 years as less resources were used. However environmental groups said the slow down was not enough to make a difference to the environmental damage being caused by over consumption, the burning of fossil fuels and intensive farming.... "Debt-fuelled overconsumption not only brought the financial system to the edge of collapse, it is pushing many of our natural life-support systems towards a precipic," he said. "Politicians tell us to get back to business as usual, but if we bankrupt critical ecosystems no amount of government spending will bring them back. "We need a radically different approach to 'rich world' consumption. While billions in poorer countries subsist, we consume vastly more and yet with little or nothing to show for it in terms of greater life satisfaction." ...


If debt is the last growth industry, I wonder how I can profit from it?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 25, 2009
from Scientific American:
Water galore on Moon and Mars
In a sensational announcement, NASA announced that there are vast quantities of water on the Moon, which has always been considered an arid world. A second discovery revealed that water ice exists at mid-latitudes on Mars. This is much further from the poles and closer to the equator than water was previously thought to lie and means there should be supplies for human explorers to drink. The new martian ice was detected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter probe which spotted the ice in craters produced by recent meteorite impacts on the red planet. The discovery delighted space scientists still reeling from the revelation that water is widespread on the Moon. There are no lakes or rivers -the lunar soil, or regolith, is still drier than any desert on Earth. ...


Now I won't have to worry about the converging emergencies!

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Thu, Sep 10, 2009
from Odisha Today (India):
Industrialisation, Agriculture and depleting Ground Water in Orissa
Due to deviation in the pattern of rainfall, the flow of river in Orissa has been reduced drastically and around 8 months in a year, rivers are lying dry. This has been forcing all to depend upon ground water to meet all short of water requirements. At the same time, due to deviation in the pattern of rainfall, neither during heavy rainfall nor during scanty rainfall, water percolating to the ground water table.... Around 80 percent of rural population in Orissa depends upon ground water for drinking and domestic purposes. At the same time, due to change in the pattern of rainfall, people have started shifting from rain fed agriculture to seasonal irrigated hi-yielding agriculture. This is again increasing the consumption of ground water like anything. ...


They're becoming the rivers of no recharge.

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Sun, Jul 26, 2009
from Environmental Research Web:
Groundwater crisis could hit India as climate changes
Traditionally India has relied on surface storage and gravity flow to water crops but in recent years it has come to depend heavily on groundwater to irrigate crops and to cope with dry spells. Today the number of irrigation wells equipped with diesel or electric pumps in the country stands at more than 19 million, compared with just 150,000 in 1950. This dependence is only likely to increase in the future as more and more rural farmers scavenge this water using small mechanical pumps and private tubewells. The practice has a large carbon footprint and groundwater pumping using electricity and diesel accounts for an estimated 1625 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions or up to 6 percent of the total carbon dioxide produced by India. ...


Hey, no worries! We've been doing this for decades in the Midwest!

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Mon, Mar 23, 2009
from Denver Post:
Nestle plan sets off water war
A plan to suck, truck and bottle Arkansas Valley spring water has residents here crusading against the world's largest food and beverage company. "Nestle is seeking to drain the blood of Chaffee County," said Salida local Daniel Zettler during a fiery public hearing last week. Nestle -- with 12 U.S. brands of bottled water and almost $4.3 billion in North American sales in 2007 -- came calling for Arkansas Valley spring water about two years ago. The company wants to draw 65 million gallons a year from an aquifer feeding two freshwater springs near Nathrop, pipe it 5 miles to a truck stop and ship it 100 miles to a Denver bottling facility. It would be sold under the company's Arrowhead brand. ...


Sing with me now... Nestle makes the very best ... bottled water...

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 23, 2009
from Scientific American:
The Ogallala Aquifer: Saving a Vital U.S. Water Source
On America's high plains, crops in early summer stretch to the horizon: field after verdant field of corn, sorghum, soybeans, wheat and cotton. Framed by immense skies now blue, now scarlet-streaked, this 800-mile expanse of agriculture looks like it could go on forever. It can't. The Ogallala Aquifer, the vast underground reservoir that gives life to these fields, is disappearing. In some places, the groundwater is already gone. This is the breadbasket of America -- the region that supplies at least one fifth of the total annual U.S. agricultural harvest. If the aquifer goes dry, more than $20 billion worth of food and fiber will vanish from the world's markets. And scientists say it will take natural processes 6,000 years to refill the reservoir. ...


The breadbasket is going to hell in a handbasket!

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Mon, Mar 2, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
China plans 59 reservoirs to collect meltwater from its shrinking glaciers
China is planning to build 59 reservoirs to collect water from its shrinking glaciers as the cost of climate change hits home in the world's most populous country. The far western province of Xinjiang, home to many of the planet's highest peaks and widest ice fields, will carry out the 10-year engineering project, which aims to catch and store glacier run-off that might otherwise trickle away into the desert. Behind the measure is a concern that millions of people in the region will run out of water once the glaciers in the Tian, Kunlun and Altai mountains disappear. Anxiety has risen along with temperatures that are rapidly diminishing the ice fields. The 3,800-metre Urumqi No1 glacier, the first to be measured in China, has lost more than 20 percent of its volume since 1962, according to the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (Careeri) in Lanzhou. ...


Which of the seven previous generations do I blame?

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Fri, Feb 27, 2009
from New York Times:
Worst Drought in Half Century Shrivels the Wheat Belt of China
a long rainless stretch has underscored the urgency of water problems in a region that grows three-fifths of Chinas crops and houses more than two-fifths of its people but gets only one-fifth as much rain as the rest of the country.... Normally, the new land he was offered lies under more than 20 feet of water, part of the Luhun Reservoir in Henan Province. But this winter, Luhun has lost most of its water. And what was once lake bottom has become just another field of winter wheat, stunted for want of rain. Water supplies have been drying up in Northern China for decades, the result of pervasive overuse and waste. Aquifers have been so depleted that in some farming regions, wells probe a half-mile down before striking water. ...


Was this "dry lake bottom" I feel in my mouth once my salivary glands?

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Tue, Feb 24, 2009
from AAAS:
Dwindling Resources of Soil, Water and Air Require 'CDC for Planet Earth'
In her plenary address to the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting, Kieffer called for the creation of a "CDC for Planet Earth"--an organization that could respond to planetary threats such climate change with the same kind of coordination the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed during the SARS and bird flu outbreaks of the late 1990s.... Ocean acidification, spreading deserts, dry aquifers and degraded soils are stealth disasters, altering the planet in ways that "will undermine our survival and evolution into the civilized global society that we might become," warned Kieffer.... And for the first time in history, "societies of the whole planet are so interconnected that Planet Earth is essentially one island," where the stealth disasters of one region can become a crisis for the whole globe, she suggested. ...


It doesn't take a genius to figure this stuff out -- heck, we did!

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Vegas water watchers raise drought fears
Water supplies to Las Vegas could run dry within six years thanks to receding water levels at Lake Mead, officials warned last week, bringing into question the long-term viability of the fastest growing city in the US.... Over the past nine years, the Colorado river, which feeds Lake Meade, has experienced an average inflow two-thirds of its normal intake, Mulroy said in his presentation.... But scientists remain fearful that in the long term the desert city will have to find alternative water supplies and may even become unviable. ...


Las Vegas always was a gamble.

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
from The Economist:
Drought in northern China
...After 100 days without precipitation in the region, the government has declared a "Level 1" emergency for the worst drought in 50 years, authorising an extra 300m yuan ($44m) in special drought-relief spending. It will finance everything from cloud-seeding rockets to the digging of new wells and tankers to deliver water. This year's winter-wheat harvest is at risk. February 8th saw some rain, but only 5-10 millimetres, compared with 200mm farmers say they need in coming months. The drought comes at a difficult moment. The global downturn has hit China's exporters hard, and millions of rural migrants have lost their jobs in coastal factories and returned to their villages....China's water woes will only worsen, especially for farmers. When supplies tighten, urban and industrial users usually have priority. Ma Jun, a water specialist in Beijing, says that since the 1950s China has been digging ever deeper wells, and building ever more dams, canals, and water diversion projects. But all this has taken a toll. Because of lower water-tables and depleted aquifers, many rivers can no longer replenish themselves in the dry season. ...


My tung is so dry.

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Tue, Feb 3, 2009
from Seattle Times:
Deep trouble for wells in Eastern Washington
A groundwater-mapping study that tracks how water trickles under Eastern Washington shows deep wells in four counties are in deep trouble. The two-year study done by the Columbia Basin Groundwater Management Area, based in Othello, found that aquifer levels are dropping fast, that most deep wells in the study area are drawing water left from the ice-age floods at least 10,000 years ago, and that there is virtually no chance Lake Roosevelt is recharging deep wells in Eastern Washington's driest counties. "This is a major issue for cities and big irrigators," said Paul Stoker, executive director of the groundwater agency. ...


It might "be an issue" for humans living there, as well.

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Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from Forbes:
Idaho miners won't have to restore groundwater
Monsanto Co., Agrium Inc., and J.R. Simplot Co. will be able to mine phosphate without being forced to restore groundwater beneath their operations to its natural condition, according to a new rule awaiting approval by the 2009 Legislature.... "We have never asked for the right to mess up someone else's beneficial use of the groundwater," [lobbyist for Idaho Mining Association] Lyman told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The department came up with a rule they think is workable, without putting our industry into a difficult situation where we'd be unable to comply." The rule is backed by industry but opposed by environmentalists including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Idaho Conservation League, who say it gives mining companies near the Idaho-Wyoming border license to pollute forever. ...


"Unable to comply" with a livable future, that is.

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Mon, Dec 29, 2008
from via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Could Dramatically Affect Water Supplies
It's no simple matter to figure out how regional changes in precipitation, expected to result from global climate change, may affect water supplies. Now, a new analysis led by MIT researchers has found that the changes in groundwater may actually be much greater than the precipitation changes themselves. For example, in places where annual rainfall may increase by 20 percent as a result of climate change, the groundwater might increase as much as 40 percent. Conversely, the analysis showed in some cases just a 20 percent decrease in rainfall could lead to a 70 percent decrease in the recharging of local aquifers a potentially devastating blow in semi-arid and arid regions. ...


You mean.... there's water under the ground?

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Sat, Dec 6, 2008
from San Antonio Express News:
Starting to run on empty
About 40 percent of the water used in Texas comes from the Ogallala, and almost all of that is poured onto farmland -- in staggering amounts. In a given year, more water is used to irrigate farms in each of a half-dozen Panhandle counties than is pumped out of the entire Edwards Aquifer, the primary water source for San Antonio and much of South-Central Texas. Rainfall can't keep pace with all that pumping, so the Ogallala's water table drops by an average of nearly 2 feet per year in this part of Texas. In places where corn production is especially intense, average annual declines have been found that exceed 8 feet.... Meanwhile, existing water supplies for the Panhandle are projected to decline by 40 percent by 2060. ...


Luckily, Peak Ogallala is decades off! Plenty of time!

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Sat, Nov 29, 2008
from Salt Lake Tribune:
Drought deepens strain on a dwindling Colorado
The drought gripping Utah, Southern California and the rest of the Southwest this century shows no sign of ending. Scientists see it as a permanent condition that, despite year-to-year weather variations, will deepen as temperatures rise, snows dwindle, soils bake and fires burn.... Making matters worse, the Colorado -- the 1,450-mile-long lifeline that sustains more than 30 million souls and 3.5 million acres of farmland in seven states, 34 tribal nations and Mexico -- is in decline, scientists warn....Trend analyses by federal scientists, probably conservative, predict the population dependent on the river will reach at least 38 million during the coming decade. ...


Sounds like in our lifetime the Colorado will be the Coloradone.

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Mon, Nov 3, 2008
from Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Drought more menacing, but it gets less mention
Drought? What drought? The rains still havent come. Lake Lanier drops ever lower. And Georgias water wars with Florida and Alabama slog along. Yet last fall's doomsday water scenarios have disappeared from newspaper front pages and state officials' lips. Instead, this fall, Georgians are consumed with the financial crisis, the presidential election and gas prices. Meanwhile, the new year promises Year Four of the drought that has fundamentally affected the way North Georgians live. ...


Our mouths are too dry to speak of it.

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Sun, Nov 2, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Drought land 'will be abandoned'
Parts of the world may have to be abandoned because severe water shortages will leave them uninhabitable, the United Nations environment chief has warned. Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said water shortages caused by over-use of rivers and aquifers were already leading to serious problems, even in rich nations. With climate change expected to reduce rainfall in some places and cause droughts in others, some regions could become 'economic deserts', unviable for people or agriculture, he said. ...


Luckily, we have a spare planet to expand into.
What, wait, we don't?

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Fri, Oct 31, 2008
from Associated Press:
Calif. cuts water deliveries to cities, farms
The state said Thursday it would cut water deliveries to their second lowest level ever, prompting warnings of water rationing for cities and less planting by farmers. The Department of Water Resources announced it will deliver just 15 percent of the amount that local water agencies throughout California request every year. That marks the second lowest projection since the first State Water Project deliveries were made in 1962. ...


My mouth grows dry just reading this story.

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Mon, Oct 20, 2008
from The Intelligencer:
Well-grounded fears of aquifer depletion
But this year, as Palisades' well dropped to its lowest level, as housing and commercial development expanded, as quarry production continued and as natural gas drilling stood on the horizon in Nockamixon, Stanfield said homeowners should start taking notice. Stanfield, who volunteers as vice chairman of the Bridgeton-Nockamixon-Tinicum Groundwater Management Committee, said in the several years he has monitored water levels, the high school's well is at the highest variation he has seen with the water level rising and falling. "It suggests that the aquifer they are drawing from is seriously stressed and there needs to be a review of how to respond to this," he said. ...


Water, water, once was there
now fewer drops to drink.


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Tue, Sep 23, 2008
from National Geographic:
Iran Sinking as Groundwater Resources Disappear
Iran's insatiable demand for water, which is being drawn out of aquifers far faster than it can be replenished, is causing large chunks of farmland to sink and buildings to crack, according to a new study. Estimates suggest the water levels in Iranian aquifers have declined by an average of nearly 1.5 feet (half a meter) every year over the last 15 years. As the water is removed, soil and rock lose their support, leading to compaction and sinking. ...


Maybe that's what they need nuclear power for -- to hold up their world!

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Sun, Sep 21, 2008
from UPI:
Iranians deplete aquifers, land is sinking
Researchers say increasing demand for groundwater in Iran is depleting that nation's water supplies, resulting in land surface deformations. An international team of scientists said decades of unrestrained groundwater extraction are linked to land surface deformation on local and regional scales.... "Comparing ground deformation in Iran with other basins around the world revealed that Iran currently hosts some of the fastest sinking valleys and plain aquifers in the world," the scientists said. ...


Is that trouble I see ahead? Is the ground shifting 'neath our feet?

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Mon, Aug 18, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Spanish fear day when tap will run dry
"BARCELONA, Spain -- Water woes spiraled to such depths this year that the top regional environment minister here -- a confirmed agnostic -- confessed to climbing the stony shrine of the Virgin of Montserrat for a bit of solace. Winter rains refused to fall, shriveling reserves to severe drought levels and prompting a water shipment from France. Catalonia's go-to guy for the environment, Francesc Baltasar, told local radio that fear made for a quick, if dubious, epiphany at the feet of the Virgin Mary." ...


If we can just get the Virgin Mary statue to start weeping, our water worries are over!

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Mon, Mar 3, 2008
from Naples News Daily (FL):
Collier county wants right to withdraw more aquifer water; district reluctant
"The county wants more fresh water because it is less expensive to treat than brackish water and can be treated with existing water plant capacity, delaying the need to build new plants, county Water Director Paul Mattausch said.... More than half of the county's water supply comes from alternative water supplies, either highly treated reclaimed water from the county's sewage treatment plants or brackish water from deeper underground." ...


Sorry, can't feel too bad: "about half of the county's drinking water is used to water lawns."

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