But water is the most abundant substance on the planet.
Climate change has drawn a lot of attention to water issues such as sea-level rise, flooding and drought. But scientists say there’s another piece of the puzzle we’ve failed to notice, and it’s right beneath our feet.
At least 43 percent of all water used for drinking and irrigation comes from underground aquifers, which can take thousands of years to refill. When rainfall is scarce, the surface water in reservoirs, lakes and rivers dries up, and people are forced to rely heavily on local groundwater. With drought predicted to increase as the climate warms, many experts are beginning to worry about the long-term sustainability of the world’s aquifers.
“We don’t see groundwater, so we don’t know the resource is dwindling,” said Jason Gurdak, an assistant professor of geosciences at San Francisco State University who has been working with a team of scientists on a book called “Climate Change Effects on Groundwater Resources.”
“We’re already pumping groundwater at such a high rate that the water tables are declining rapidly,” he said. “A lot of what we’re doing right now is diminishing the resource for the future“… [Emphasis added]
Under the highlighted rationale, all natural resources could be put off limits permanently.