The global race for groundwater speeds up to feed agriculture's growing needs

phys.org | 1/16/2019 | Staff
idkwatitis (Posted by) Level 3
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Water is becoming a scarce resource in many parts of the world. Water tables have been falling in many regions for decades, particularly in areas with intensive agriculture. Wells are going dry and there are few long-term solutions available —a common stopgap has been to drill deeper wells.

This is exactly what happened in California's Central Valley. The recent drought there prompted drilling of deeper and deeper water wells to support irrigated agriculture.

Arizona - Wells - Water - Shortages - Agriculture

Arizona is also looking to drill additional wells to tackle water shortages to support agriculture. The flow of the Colorado River, which supplies water to more than 44 million people across seven states, including Arizona, has dropped by close to 20 per cent in the past 15 years, lowering water levels in Lake Mead, the river's largest reservoir.

Under Arizona's proposed Drought Contingency Plan, the state will have to reduce its use of Colorado River water by about 500 million cubic metres per year, an amount equal to three times Calgary's annual water consumption.

Groundwater - Supplies - World - Pumping - Wells

Groundwater supplies around the world are being threatened by excessive pumping, but drilling deeper wells is not a long-term solution. There is a limit to the availability of fresh groundwater at depth. A better solution is to manage water use and avoid excessive declines in groundwater levels.

Drilling deeper wells to support irrigated agriculture may not be possible everywhere. Recent research indicates the depths at which fresh groundwater resources occur is highly variable and not as extensive as previously thought.

Groundwater - Parts - California - Arizona - Case

Deep fresh groundwater can be found in parts of California and Arizona, but this is not the case beneath the High Plains in the western United States, the U.S. Midwest or the Canadian Prairies. Intensive irrigation in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas has depleted the High Plains aquifer. Wells in this area now reach to the bottom of fresh...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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