On Sustainability’s Updates

Water Woes: Vast US Aquifer Is Being Tapped Out

news.yahoo.coom | Original Article | by Denise Chow

Nearly 70 percent of the groundwater stored in parts of the United States' High Plains Aquifer — a vast underground reservoir that stretches through eight states, from South Dakota to Texas, and supplies 30 percent of the nation's irrigated groundwater — could be used up within 50 years, unless current water use is reduced, a new study finds.

Researchers from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., conducted a four-year study of a portion of the High Plains Aquifer, called the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides the most agriculturally important irrigation in the state of Kansas, and is a key source of drinking water for the region.

If current irrigation trends continue unabated, 69 percent of the available groundwater will be drained in the next five decades, the researchers said in a study published online today (Aug. 26) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"I think it's generally understood that the groundwater levels are going down and that at some point in the future groundwater pumping rates are going to have to decrease," study lead author David Steward, a professor of civil engineering at Kansas State University, said in a statement. "However, there are lots of questions about how long the water will last, how long the aquifer will take to refill and what society can do." Read More...

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