Ah yes, who doesn’t like that refreshing feeling of a shower in the morning before work and in the evening before bed? Unfortunately, we might be entering an age where the overuse and depletion of groundwater might turn things like a shower or a bottle of fresh water into luxuries.
As you stand there, getting rained on by gallons of water, has it ever passed your mind that global water supplies are going fast? The latest research, speared by scientists from the University of California, shows that “humans are rapidly draining water” from more than half of the world’s biggest underground basins.
The water from these natural aquifers is going faster than nature can replenish them.
China running out of fresh water
China, the world’s most populated region with an estimated population of over 1.5 billion, is bound to face major concerns because of its groundwater depletion. On top of that, the pollution of its groundwater is an even greater concern.
“In 2009, the World Bank reported that a deficit of surface water has led to excessive over-exploitation of groundwater resources, which in turn has resulted in the rapid depletion of groundwater,” says China Water Risk.
Using up the surface water is one thing. When you start draining out your groundwater, however, this will have far reaching consequences; lakes and water lands could dry out. As the remaining groundwater becomes more and more salty, the risks of infrastructures caving in becomes greater, as does the risk of areas of land sinking in.
Some experts believe that sinkholes open up where the groundwater level sinks too low.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) May 20, 2016
In California, there are cases of land sinking in because “rampant groundwater pumping by farmers” is lowering the groundwater levels.
Drinking water to be the new oil
Groundwater is the main source of the world’s usable and clean drinking water. In many places, we have used up our surface water, so ground water has also become the main source of water for agriculture and industry. We are using up more groundwater than nature can replenish, and some believe this is a problem.
“The withdrawals far outstrip the replenishment. We can’t keep doing this,”says NASA scientist Famiglietti.
Because the groundwater table is sinking lower and lower, the price of pumping water up further and further is becoming more and more expensive.
The resulting extra cost of getting water is passed on to the population. In Europe, water is selling for a higher price than milk, even if this is mainly because Europe has an overproduction of milk.
Saving our drinking water resources
The keywords are “Water Conservation,” and each and every person in the world can pitch in. It doesn’t even cost a cent in most cases; it just requires us to change our mentality toward the importance of nature, the environment, and water, understanding that we are a part of all of them, and they a part of us.
Educators can teach children about the importance of water and its scarcity at a young age.
Governments and regulators could pass stricter regulations on the industry’s disposal of wastes, such as chemicals and heavy metals, which pollute the ground water.
Then there is the most classical advice: “Don’t waste water or shower too long.”