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Thread: The Worlds Water in danger of depletion

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    Administrator Ross's Avatar
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    The Worlds Water in danger of depletion

    A NASA-led study, more than half of the world’s large underground water sources were being drained at rates placing them at serious risk of drying up.

    It found 21 out of the 37 basins were being depleted quicker than they were being replenished.

    Among those identified was the Canning Basin in Western Australia’s northwest.

    This precious natural resource was singled out as being used at the third-highest rate in the world, losing an estimated 9.4 millimetres per year.

    The most-stressed underground water source is the Arabian Aquifer, in Saudi Arabia, followed by the Indus Basin in India and Pakistan.

    The report did point out that the Great Artesian Basin, which occupies 1.7 million sq km beneath Queensland, NSW, SA and the Northern Territory, was among the world’s healthiest.

    The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Water Resources Research, blames the Canning Basin’s high depletion rate on the state’s water-intensive mining industry.

    But the international scientific assessment has been rejected by the WA government which branded the study’s conclusions — that mining caused the decrease — as “incorrect”.

    The WA Department of Water says its own “detailed and extensive” records dispute those findings, saying their own scientists consider the Canning Basin to be a “largely undeveloped water resource with potential to support future growth in the Pilbara and Kimberley”.

    “Reports that the Canning Basin is being depleted through overuse by mining differ significantly from the scientific assessments of the Department of Water which manages and allocates water from this resource,” a spokeswoman told news.com.au.

    “The department last year allocated 50GL/year of water for future use by towns, agriculture and mining from the west Canning Basin, and is considering a further 50GL/year of water to be allocated based on more recent assessment work.”

    She said the Department of Water was in the midst of studying the Canning Basin using on-ground drilling and an airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey that would cover tens of thousands of kilometres.

    A climate assessment project led by the CSIRO was also being carried out to determine any climatic affects on Pilbara water supplies, she added.

    So how did NASA come up with its assessment?

    Researchers used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites (or orbiting satellites) to measure the world’s groundwater aquifers over a ten year period from 2003 to 2013.

    The satellites are able to detect slight changes in the Earth’s gravitational pull where large volumes of water were being used or stored.

    But the satellites weren’t able to measure the total capacity of the underground water sources.

    However the study says the satellite data indicates that some reserves may be smaller than previously thought.

    How bad does NASA think it is?

    “The situation is quite critical,” Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California told The Washington Post.

    “The water table is dropping all over the world. There’s not an infinite supply of water.”

    According to the research, underground aquifers supply 35 per cent of the water used by people throughout the world.

    In California, where severe drought is crippling the US state, 60 per cent of its water use is now coming from underground water sources.

    Experts there have warned that all California’s water will eventually come from its aquifers by the end of the year.

    - - - - Updated - - - -

    HUMAN activity is leading to the rapid draining of about one third of the planet’s largest underground water reserves and it is unclear how much fluid remains in them, two new studies have found.

    Consequently, huge sections of the population are using up groundwater without knowing when it will run out, researchers said in findings that will appear in the journal Water Resources Research and were posted online Tuesday.

    “Available physical and chemical measurements are simply insufficient,” University of California Irvine professor and principal investigator Jay Famiglietti said in a statement.

    “Given how quickly we are consuming the world’s groundwater reserves, we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left,” added Famiglietti, who is also the senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

    Scientists used data from special NASA satellites to measure groundwater losses. In the first paper, they looked at 37 of Earth’s biggest aquifers between 2003 and 2013. Eight of these were classified as “overstressed,” meaning they were being sucked dry with almost no natural replenishment to offset the usage.

    Five other aquifers were determined to be “extremely or highly stressed.” Scientists warned the situation would only worsen with climate change and population growth. The most overburdened aquifers are in the world’s driest places, where there is little natural replenishment.

    “What happens when a highly stressed aquifer is located in a region with socio-economic or political tensions that can’t supplement declining water supplies fast enough?” said Alexandra Richey, the lead author on both studies.

    “We’re trying to raise red flags now to pinpoint where active management today could protect future lives and livelihoods.” Researchers found that the Arabian Aquifer System, providing water for more than 60 million people, is the world’s most overstressed source.

    The Indus Basin aquifer of north-western India and Pakistan is the second-most overstressed, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa is third, scientists said.

    In drought-stricken California, the Central Valley aquifer was labelled as “highly stressed.” The second paper concludes that the total remaining volume of the world’s usable groundwater is poorly known and huge discrepancies exist in estimated “time to depletion.” “We don’t actually know how much is stored in each of these aquifers. Estimates of remaining storage might vary from decades to millennia,” Richey said.

    “In a water-scarce society, we can no longer tolerate this level of uncertainty, especially since groundwater is disappearing so rapidly.”

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/en...-1227438071442

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    Re: The Worlds Water in danger of depletion

    The Ogallala Aquifer has been doomed for 25 years

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    Re: The Worlds Water in danger of depletion

    California’s Department of Water Resources reveal the disturbing extent of water loss to great lakes.

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    THEY were once great reservoirs that quenched the thirst of millions, but many of California’s great lakes have been turned to dust.

    Disturbing aerial footage captured by California’s Department of Water Resources team shows the devastating effect the record-breaking four-year drought has had on the ravaged state.

    The footage, taken at Northern California’s Folsom Lake, Lake Oroville and Shasta reservoirs this week, details the parched landscape that has been gradually dwindling as California struggles to curb an ever-increasing demand for water.

    Lake Oroville, which is used to fill taps in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is nearing a record low, while last month at a meeting of the State Water Resources Board, officials warned Folsom Lake could be 96 per cent empty by January 2016.

    “It’s just bad. It’s just bad,” Sacramento Region Water Forum executive director Tom Gohring said.





    All hopes to refill the reservoirs depend on an apparent El Niño weather pattern, which climatologists believe will move into the area by winter. It is expected to bring with it tropical air that could potentially restore water flow to communities that no longer have running tap water. But it’s anyone’s guess if the rain will ease the driest conditions since the Middle Ages.

    “We don’t have a lot of confidence in these models,” University of California Irvine hydrologist, engineer and climatologist Amir AghaKouchak said of predictive weather patterns.

    “Last year we also had an El Niño prediction. That didn’t happen.

    “If you compare the ocean temps back then [in 1983 and ’98] and now, it looks like we are heading toward a strong or very strong El Niño. But it’s still early to say.”

    While the state saw record-breaking downpours last week — southern California saw more rain in one day than all of January combined — it’s not enough to bring relief to the incredible deficit seen by the drought.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates at least 300 to 400 inches of rain would be needed fall in order to raise levels out of the red.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/en...-1227455481789

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    Global Moderator Scott's Avatar
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    Re: The Worlds Water in danger of depletion

    This is evidence you can see unlike other claims of water mismanagement.
    Nestle,coke and other large corporations are also fast draining Aquifers world wide.
    Desalination plants are a feasible alternative but not enough of them have and are being built.

    Scott

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    Adam Bomm (07-26-2015)

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    Senior Member Adam Bomm's Avatar
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    Re: The Worlds Water in danger of depletion

    Hi Scott,

    yeah, I'm with you...that seems like a likely solution at least given the current state of technology...There is most certainly a lot of resource for desalination. Ross posted the info about the 'cousin' planet recently discovered. I found it annoying that the immediate analysis suggested by scientists was that because of the age of its sun it was possible that the oceans were boiling away. What a bunch of buzzkills.
    Last edited by Adam Bomm; 07-26-2015 at 12:24 PM.

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