Thirsty countries threatening water supply

Aug. 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM

MONTREAL, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Some thirsty countries are consuming their groundwater reserves at a rate greater than the reserves can be renewed, a Canadian researchers says.

Writing in the journal Nature, study co-author Tom Gleeson of McGill University in Montreal and his colleagues identify India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mexico and the United States as countries straining their groundwater supplies.

The researchers developed a "groundwater footprint" measure, comparing water coming in with water going out, to gauge how large an aquifer would need to be to sustain current withdrawal levels.

A groundwater "footprint" larger than the actual aquifer means people are using water faster that it can be replenished, treating it as a nonrenewable resource, Gleeson said.

Eighty percent of the world's aquifers are operating in a sustainable footprint, he said, but countries overtapping other aquifers are draining the world's water supply.

"It's not sustainable," Gleeson said. "We don't know how long the aquifers will last."

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending News
Sex causes immune response to increase chance of pregnancy
Ancient rocks reveal earliest instance of photosynthesis
Smoking cessation drug effective for women faster than men
Gene therapy effective against form of inherited vision loss
NASA releases thousands of Apollo mission photos on Flickr