Sunday, June 8, 2008

Drip, drip, drip

Someone asks rhetorically [or maybe even seriously], "Are we going to farm off our last inch of topsoil to grow corn for ethanol?" Another cogent question might be, "Are we going to drain our last aquifer for irrigation water to grow corn for ethanol?" The aquifers around the world are taking a beating. From a watery blog:
Scores of countries are overpumping aquifers as they struggle to satisfy their growing water needs. The drilling of millions of irrigation wells has pushed water withdrawals beyond recharge rates, in effect leading to groundwater mining. The failure of governments to limit pumping to the sustainable yield of aquifers means that water tables are now falling in countries that contain more than half the world's people, including the big three grain producers--China, India, and the United States.

I kited the link from the Aguanomics guy. Read the rest here.
For a map of overdrawn aquifers, click here. Notice how our overdrafts are mostly west of the 99th meridian, where to turn a quick buck we are piddling away water that took a long, long time to accumulate. It could be worse; we could be supporting hungry populations instead of greedy agribusineses.

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