This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Water is in Ever Shorter Supply Relative to Demand

This will not really be news to people who pay attention to the world's environment, but a new study published in Nature has nonetheless provided better estimates than before of the extent to which major agricultural regions of the world are using up groundwater at a faster rate than it can be replenished.

Across the world, human civilizations depend largely on tapping vast reservoirs of water that have been stored for up to thousands of years in sand, clay and rock deep underground. These massive aquifers — which in some cases stretch across multiple states and country borders — provide water for drinking and crop irrigation, as well as to support ecosystems such as forests and fisheries.
Yet in most of the world’s major agricultural regions, including the Central Valley in California, the Nile delta region of Egypt, and the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, demand exceeds these reservoirs' capacity for renewal.
“This overuse can lead to decreased groundwater availability for both drinking water and growing food,” says Tom Gleeson, a hydrogeologist at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and lead author of the study. Eventually, he adds, it “can lead to dried up streams and ecological impacts”.
A nice world map of water stress accompanies the summary of the story that is available to the public free of charge. Look at the map and remember when you turn on the tap that you don't really have water up the ying yang, even though it may seem like it. 

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