New Data Reveals Farmers Are Mining Groundwater at Alarming Rate

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“California farms represent 8% of the US’s agriculture value, and the Central Valley is where most of that growing takes place. However, as the state struggles with ongoing droughts, the groundwater supplies are dwindling at a frightening rate. According to satellite technology used by NASA, over a 6.5 year period the groundwater supplies in Central Valley leaked away by an amount equal to 63% of the capacity of Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir. With that much water disappearing, it is harder to replenish supplies when it finally does rain. Does this water debt mean a future food crisis?

National Geographic‘s Sandra Postel reports, “Rarely is groundwater use monitored, measured or regulated. This is true for most of the world, as well as for California’s Central Valley-the fruit and vegetable bowl of the United States. Farmers in the 52,000 square-kilometer valley produce 250 different kinds of crops that together account for 8 percent of the nation’s agricultural value. But thanks to the National Atmospheric and Space Administration’s (NASA) satellite mission called GRACE (the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), we’re getting some excellent assessments of what’s happening to water underground-and the picture is sobering.”

Read more: AlterNet

1 Response to “New Data Reveals Farmers Are Mining Groundwater at Alarming Rate”

  • The biggest problem with out world today is the lack of imagination at solving problems. Take this one for example. There is a very easy solution to this problem and I’ll even give it away for free and someone can make millions off of it.

    The largest supply of water on the earth lies in the ocean. We have to start right now, today to capitalize on this fact. But by the time everything is in place everything should be fine or better in the future.

    It’s so simple I just can’t believe no one has thought of this before. We need to move our farms to the oceans. All you have to do is have engineers build simple crop pods. They would have the required amount of soil and be spread out over distances of say 1/4 sq. mile each or more if the mechanical engineers say it’s possible. The bottom has to be somewhat flexible to roll with waves but not too flexible. Carbon nanotubes might be a possible structural component. The engineers must also devise a system that takes the ocean water, filters out the excess salt and any possible pollutants and irrigate the crop pod. No reason why it can not be on a timed or drop system. The top of the pod should have a screen to keep out seagulls.

    This is a perfect way to grow crops because no pesticides would be required. Bugs don’t live at the ocean.
    New jobs would be created by building and maintaining the crop pods. Ocean Farmer would be a new job description. The crop pods can exist in water’s all over the world where it’s warmer and and calmer. If a storm is coming, the crop pods can be towed into shore, just like barges. They would not pollute the ocean since no pesticides would be involved and excess water could be recycled.

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