The No Fresh Water Planet

By: Richard Mills | Sun, Apr 3, 2016
Print Email

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information

Our planet is 70 percent covered in ocean - 98% of the world's water is in the oceans. Which makes 98% of the world's water unfit for drinking, or irrigation.

Just 2% of the world's water is fresh. The vast majority of our fresh water, 1.64%, is in its frozen state and locked up in the polar ice caps, Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers. Once it melts its contaminated by seawater, either by melting directly into the oceans or running to the world's oceans through a stream or river.

Our available freshwater, .36% of the water on the planet, is found underground in aquifers and wells, and on the surface in lakes and rivers.

After the glaciers melt many of our rivers will cease to exist, and a vast number of lakes will no longer be filled by anything more than melting snow - runoff - and rainfall. Refilling our lakes and aquifers by relying on only precipitation, in a warming and much drier climate, does not sound efficient or dependable.

"In many parts of the world, in particular in the dry, mid-latitudes, far more water is used than is available on an annual, renewable basis. Precipitation, snowmelt, and stream flow are no longer enough to supply the multiple, competing demands for society's water needs. Because the gap between supply and demand is routinely bridged with non-renewable groundwater, even more so during drought, groundwater supplies in some major aquifers will be depleted in a matter of decades. The myth of limitless water and the free-for-all mentality that has pervaded groundwater use must now come to an end. ~ NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory hydrologist James Famiglietti, Nature Climate Change

Freshwater aquifers are one of the most important natural resources in the world today, but in recent decades the rate at which we're pumping them dry has more than doubled. These fast shrinking underground reservoirs are essential to life on this planet. They sustain streams, wetlands, and ecosystems and they resist land subsidence and salt water intrusion into our fresh water supplies.


GRACE

NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites measure anomalies in the Earth's gravity brought about by changes in water supplies.

Hydrologists combined the information from GRACE with soil moisture and other data to isolate changes in groundwater storage. They built a renewable groundwater stress (RGS) ratio that compares the rate at which the groundwater is being used to its availability as reflected by the rate at which the aquifer is being replenished. Of the 37 aquifers studied, 16 showed positive accumulating trends and 21 showed declining trends.

Twenty-one of the world's 37 largest aquifers are losing water at a greater rate than they're being refilled.

They include:

Most of the unstressed (the 16 accumulating water) aquifers are located in remote forested and rain fed regions. Most of the stressed (21 losing water) aquifers were located in regions with high amounts of rangeland and cropland.

Out of the 21 aquifers losing water, eight were found to be overstressed - meaning there is almost no natural replenishment while five more were extremely stressed signifying they had some water flowing back into them.

The Arabian Aquifer System is an important water source for more than 60 million people and it's the most overstressed in the world. The Indus Basin aquifer of northwestern India and Pakistan is the second-most overstressed, the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa is third. California's Central Valley, used heavily for agriculture and suffering rapid depletion, was labeled extremely stressed.

Water Aquifers

Renewable Groundwater Stress


For most, a no fresh water planet

There are currently 7.3 billion of us sharing the world's fresh water resources. By 2050 the United Nations (UN) expects the world's population to reach 9.7 billion. Feeding everyone in 2050 could require 50% more water than is needed now.

Already approximately 1 billion people go to bed hungry each night.

Almost 1 in every 15 children in developing countries dies before the age of 5, most of them from hunger-related causes. Somewhere in the world someone starves to death every 3.6 seconds - most are children under the age of five.

An estimated 90% of the people expected to be added to the population, by 2050, will be in developing countries.

This means hundreds of millions more marginalized people will feel the extreme pinch of shortages in what those people need the most - water, food and clothing - the bare essentials necessary for survival.

Population of the World and Major Areas, 2015, 2030, 2050 and 2100


Conclusion

Human life, on our one and only planet, is based on sourcing fresh water.

Most of the aquifers in India and the shallow aquifer under the North China Plain are replenishable. When these are depleted, the maximum rate of pumping is automatically reduced to the rate of recharge or refill.

For fossil aquifers - such as the vast U.S. Ogallala aquifer, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain, or the Saudi aquifer - depletion brings pumping to an end.

Scientists do not know how much water is left in the world's aquifers - they can discern trends but they cannot yet determine the total volume that exists.

We need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left, how much we can take on a yearly sustainable basis from each aquifer and put an actionable, by ALL, conservation plan into place.

Sounds like a lot to do but...

The consequences of a major percentage of our global population running out of fresh water for drinking and irrigation, and how soon we could all be living in a no fresh water world, should be on all our radar screens. Definitely on mine, is it on yours?

If not, it should be.

 


 

Richard Mills

Author: Richard Mills

Richard (Rick) Mills
www.aheadoftheherd.com

Richard Mills

Richard lives with his family on a 160 acre ranch in northern British Columbia. He invests in the resource and biotechnology/pharmaceutical sectors and is the owner of Aheadoftheherd.com. His articles have been published on over 400 websites, including: SafeHaven.com, WallStreetJournal, USAToday, NationalPost, Lewrockwell, MontrealGazette, VancouverSun, CBSnews, HuffingtonPost, Beforeitsnews, Londonthenews, Wealthwire, CalgaryHerald, Forbes, Dallasnews, SGTreport, Vantagewire, Indiatimes, Ninemsn, Ibtimes, Businessweek, HongKongHerald, Moneytalks, SeekingAlpha, BusinessInsider, Investing.com and the Association of Mining Analysts.

Please visit www.aheadoftheherd.com

Moderated investor friendly forums - Ahead of the Herd is powered by Community Intelligence.

Free highly acclaimed newsletter featuring today's investable junior resource companies.

If you are interested in sponsoring Richard's site please contact him for more information, rick@aheadoftheherd.com

Legal Notice / Disclaimer: This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified; Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice. Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.

Ahead of the Herd.com Media Group Inc.a division of Ahead of the Herd Holdings Inc. All rights reserved. No statement or expression of opinion, or any other matter herein, directly or indirectly, is an offer or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell the securities or financial instruments mentioned. While we believe the sources of information to be reliable, we in no way represent or guarantee the accuracy of the statements made herein. Ahead of the Herd.com does not provide individual investment counseling, act as an investment advisor, or individually advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment. The publisher, editors and consultants of Ahead of the Herd.com may actively trade in the investments discussed in this website and newsletter. They may have substantial positions in the securities recommended and may increase or decrease such positions without notice. Neither the publisher nor the editors are registered investment advisors. Subscribers should not view this publication as offering personalized legal or investment counseling. Investments recommended in this website and publication should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company in question. Unauthorized reproduction of this newsletter or its contents by Xerography, facsimile, or any other means is illegal and punishable by law.

Copyright © 2009-2017 Richard Mills

All Images, XHTML Renderings, and Source Code Copyright © Safehaven.com