Recent research suggests that the amount of usable groundwater in some areas of the United States is much less than what was previously thought. This usable groundwater is found at certain depths of aquifers throughout the country, below which water is too brackish, or salty, for consumption.
Researchers at the University of Arizona looked at water chemistry to determine at what depth groundwater in various aquifers throughout the United States becomes too salty to drink. Using this depth as a guide between usable and unusable groundwater, they found that the amount of usable water present was about half of what was previously estimated.
This is especially troubling news amidst recent reports of water pollution and contamination. When groundwater at a certain depth has been tainted or used up, it has been a common practice to dig deeper and deeper wells to access more water. These new reports indicate that this may not always be possible, especially in certain areas of the eastern and central United States.
Another area of concern is the use of these groundwater reserves by oil and gas companies. The oil and gas industry uses both fresh and brackish water, pumped from the bottom of these reserves. They then force waste that is created back into deep aquifers. This combination of extraction and pollution is a major issue, especially in areas where the distance between this injected waste and the safe groundwater is not that large. The smaller the distance, the greater the potential for water contamination.
In order to ensure that the amount of usable groundwater is not further depleted, it is important to continue to monitor this water, particularly in more shallow reserves that are at higher risk of contamination. Without this available water resource, we will certainly face major consequences.
For further information visit: https://www.ecowatch.com/groundwater-reserves-aquifers-drilling-2625961666.html
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