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California’s central valley aquifers may be gone in 2030s, Ogallala 2050-2070

California’s central valley aquifers may be gone in 2030s, Ogallala 2050-2070

Preface. Clearly the human population isn’t going to reach 10 billion or more. California grows one-third of the nation’s food, the 10 high-plains states over the Ogallala about a quarter of the nations food, and exports a great deal of food other nations as well.


December 15, 2016. Groundwater resources around the world could be depleted by 2050s.  American Geophysical Union.

Human consumption could deplete groundwater in parts of India, southern Europe and the U.S. in the coming decades, according to new research presented here today.

In the U.S., aquifers in California’s Central Valley, Tulare Basin and southern San Joaquin Valley, could be depleted within the 2030s.

Aquifers in the southern High Plains, which supply groundwater to parts of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, could reach their limits between the 2050s and 2070s, according to the new research.

New modeling of the world’s groundwater levels finds aquifers—the soil or porous rocks that hold groundwater—in the Upper Ganges Basin area of India, southern Spain and Italy could be depleted between 2040 and 2060.By 2050, as many as 1.8 billion people could live in areas where groundwater levels are fully or nearly depleted because of excessive pumping of groundwater for drinking and agriculture, according to Inge de Graaf, a hydrologist at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

“While many aquifers remain productive, economically exploitable groundwater is already unattainable or will become so in the near future, especially in intensively irrigated areas in the drier regions of the world,” said de Graaf, who will present the results of her new research today at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Knowing the limits of groundwater resources is imperative, as billions of gallons of groundwater are used daily for agriculture and drinking water worldwide, said de Graaf.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Warning: A ‘Shrinking Window’ of Usable Groundwater

“We found that the average depth of water resources across the country was about half of what people had previously estimated,” says Jennifer McIntosh, a distinguished scholar and professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona.

McIntosh and her colleagues — who published a new study about these aquifers in November in Environmental Research Letters — took a different approach to assessing groundwater than other research, which has used satellites to measure changes in groundwater storage. For example, a 2015 study looked at 37 major aquifers across the world and found some were being depleted faster than they were being replenished, including in California’s agriculturally intensive Central Valley.

McIntosh says those previous studies revealed a lot about how we’re depleting water resources from the top down through extraction, such as pumping for agriculture and water supplies, especially in places like California.

But McIntosh and three other researchers wanted to look at groundwater from a different perspective: They examined how we’re using water resources from the bottom up.

The study may help close the gap about what we know and don’t know regarding how much water is available deep underground, as well as its quality.

It also rings some alarm bells.

A Different Approach

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Lakes run dry from too much water extraction and climate change

Lakes run dry from too much water extraction and climate change

Source: Hannah Osborne. Feb 8, 2016. Bolivia’s vanishing Lake Poopó: ESA images show fully evaporated lake from space. International Business Times.

Preface.  It’s bad enough that aquifers are being depleted that won’t recharge until after the next ice age, or in some places like California, never, because greedy farmers suck all the water up and the caverns below collapse and will never fill up with water again.

But equally problematic are lakes and rivers drying up, essential for agriculture, fisheries, drinking, and industrial water supplies.

Ah the poor grandchildren, what a bleak future, with little time left to do anything, if that’s even possible given human nature…

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report


Kate Ravilious. 4 March 2016. Many of world’s lakes are vanishing and some may be gone forever. NewScientist.

Bolivia’s second largest lake has vanished into thin air. In December, Lake Poopó became a dry salt pan and its largest lake – Lake Titicaca – is heading towards trouble, too. The combination of silting up and irrigation withdrawal from the Desaguadero River, which feeds Poopó, together with climate change and the extra warmth from current El Niño, were enough to finish this lake off.

Recent research and new data suggest that lakes in other parts of the world may also be on their way out.

“Considering the size of the lake – 2700 square kilometers (1042 square miles) – this is quite an astounding event, with slim prospects of recovery,” says Dirk Hoffmann from the Bolivia Mountain Institute. “This event should serve as a real warning. Eventually, we can expect Lake Titicaca to go the same way.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How climate change will mess with water ‘recharge’ in Western U.S.

How climate change will mess with water ‘recharge’ in Western U.S.

Over pumping our aquifers beyond recharge is a dangerous situation and not “sustainable” as Northern California wine makers sell us. Both Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties have been merchandising our water resources beyond recharge for years according to our state. We are on the edge of drought patterns.

Source: University of Arizona

As the climate warms, the dry southern regions of the Western United States will have less groundwater recharge while the northern regions will have more, researchers report.

“Our study asked what will be the effect of climate change on groundwater recharge in the Western US in the near future, 2021-2050, and the far future, 2070-2100,” says first author Rewati Niraula, who worked on the research as part of his doctoral work in the University of Arizona hydrology and atmospheric sciences department.

“…for those places that are already having problems, climate change is going to tighten the screws…”

The new study covers the entire US West, from the High Plains states to the Pacific coast, and provides the first detailed look at how groundwater recharge may change as the climate changes, says senior author Thomas Meixner, professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona.

“For the southern region of the Western US there will be a reduction in groundwater recharge, and in the northern region of the Western US we will have an increase,” says Niraula, now a senior research associate at the Texas Institute of Applied Environmental Research at Tarleton State University.

Groundwater is an important source of freshwater, particularly in the West, and is often used to make up for the lack of surface water during droughts, the authors note. In many areas of the West, groundwater pumping currently exceeds the amount of groundwater recharge.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Higher-risk ‘Shallow Fracking’ More Common than Suspected: Study

Higher-risk ‘Shallow Fracking’ More Common than Suspected: Study

Lessons for BC, Alberta in new Stanford report.

The fracking of oil and gas less than a mile from aquifers or the Earth’s surface now takes place across North America with few restrictions, posing increased risk for drinking water supplies, says a new Stanford study.

The study examined the frequency of so-called shallow fracking, described by the researchers as occurring less than a mile underground. Shallow fracking poses a greater risk to drinking water than fracking that occurs much deeper under the Earth’s surface.

Out of 44,000 wells fracked between 2010 and 2013 in the United States, researchers found that 6,900 (16 per cent) were fractured less than a mile from the surface and another 2,600 wells (six per cent) were fractured above 3,000 feet, or 900 metres.

“What surprised me is how often shallow fracturing occurs with large volumes of chemicals and water,” said lead researcher and environmental scientist Robert Jackson in an interview with The Tyee.

The majority of shallow fracking now takes place in Texas, California, Arkansas and Wyoming. Although the study largely excludes Canada, shallow fracking also takes place in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia, and sometimes at depths less than 500 metres.

Due to poor data reporting by industry and its regulators, “the occurrence of shallow hydraulic fracturing across the U.S. is underestimated in our analysis,” added the study.

During shallow fractures, the industry injects fluids into vertical or horizontal wells to crack rock directly below or into groundwater. In many reported cases, the resulting fractures can travel up to 556 metres into other hydrocarbon zones, water formations or other energy well sites.

As a result, shallow fractures can connect to aquifers used for drinking water.

“Even fractures that do not extend all the way to an overlying aquifer can link formations by connecting them to natural faults, fissures or other pathways,” explained the study.



…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oasis at Risk: Oman’s Ancient Water Channels Are Drying Up

Oasis at Risk: Oman’s Ancient Water Channels Are Drying Up

Since pre-Islamic times, Oman’s water systems known as aflaj have brought water from the mountains and made the desert bloom. But now, unregulated pumping of groundwater is depleting aquifers and causing the long-reliable channels to run dry.

It was 47 degrees Celsius. Make that 117 degrees Fahrenheit. In mid-May, the desert of northern Oman may have been the hottest place on the planet. But in the shade of the oasis, the temperature was dramatically cooler. Ali Al Muharbi, in his white robes and beard, beamed as he showed me around the date palms. All were irrigated by water gurgling down a channel dug many centuries ago to tap underground water in the nearby Hajar mountains.

In Oman, a country on the shores of the Arabian Sea, these magical waters conjured from the most arid land imaginable are called “unfailing springs.”

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Fred Pearce
Ali Al Muharbi (right) says the flow in his water channels has been decreasing.

Even in the worst droughts, flows persist down the underground tunnels to the surface channels that course through the villages and fields. These pre-Islamic feats of hydraulic engineering remain the only water supply for many villages. Even large towns owe their existence to the perpetually flowing waters. The systems, which remain independent of the state and are run entirely by village communities, are known individually as falaj, and collectively by the plural aflaj.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…



Environmentalists Are Taking California To Court Over Illegal Oil Industry Wastewater Injection

Environmentalists Are Taking California To Court Over Illegal Oil Industry Wastewater Injection

Environmentalists filed a motion requesting a preliminary injunction today in a California court to immediately stop the daily illegal injection of millions of gallons of oil field wastewater into protected groundwater aquifers in the state.

Last week, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in Alameda County Superior Court that challenges California regulators’ emergency rules meant to rein in the state’s disastrous Underground Injection Control (UIC) program.

Officials with the state’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) have admitted that their agencyimproperly permitted more than 2,500 wells to pump oil industry wastewater and fluids from enhanced oil recovery techniques like acidization and steam flooding into groundwater aquifers that should be protected under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

Instead of shutting down the offending wells, however, DOGGR issued emergency rules last February that would allow many of them to continue operating until 2017, according to the complaint filed by Earthjustice, which seeks to have the new rules thrown out and the wells operating in protected aquifers shut down while new regulations are being developed.

“Both the emergency regulations and the status quo fail to protect California’s underground drinking water sources from harm,” the complaint states. “Since DOGGR continues to fail in implementing its regulatory duties, this Court must vacate the emergency regulations and ensure that DOGGR complies with the law by ordering DOGGR to take all immediate action necessary and available to it to meet its obligations to prohibit illegal injection of wastewater into protected aquifers.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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