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Non-renewable aquifer water threatens life on earth

“Aquifers provide us with freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. We are drawing down these hidden, mostly non-renewable groundwater supplies at unsustainable rates threatening our very future. These aquifers typically cannot recharge, and once this “fossil” water is gone, it is gone forever potentially changing how and where we live and grow food”

National Geographic, 2014

Aquifers supply 35% of freshwater demands

“Underground aquifers supply 35% of the water used by humans worldwide”

National Post, 2015

97% of freshwater is in aquifers, soil, swamps and permafrost

“30% of the world’s freshwater is stored underground in the form of groundwater
(shallow and deep groundwater basins up to 2000 metres, soil moisture, swamp water and permafrost). This constitutes about 97% of all the freshwater that is potentially available for human use is stored in aquifers”

United Nations Water

Depleted aquifers threaten 2 billion people

“Almost 2 billion people live in regions where aquifer water is being used up faster than it can be replenished”

Nature Journal, 2012

Over half the world’s largest aquifers are threatened

“Of the 37 largest aquifers on Earth, 21 have exceeded sustainability tipping points and are being depleted, and 13 are considered significantly distressed, threatening regional water security and resilience”

NASA, 2015

Aquifers supply 50% of us drinking water

“Aquifer water provides drinking water for more than one-half of the US population”

United States Geological Survey

40% of sea level rise is from displaced aquifer water

“40% of the observed sea-level rise in recent decades is due to water that has been pumped out of aquifers”

Washington Post, 2015

Drinking water levels fall by two thirds since 1950

“The world’s drinking water supplies have fallen by almost two thirds since 1950”

International Fund for Agricultural Development

Water insecurity costs $94 billion annually

“In agriculture, water insecurity costs existing irrigators US$94 billion per year”

Global Water Partnership, 2015

Agriculture uses 70% of water withdrawals, & 90% in developing countries

“The agricultural sector is already the largest user of water resources, accounting for roughly 70% of all freshwater withdrawals globally, and over 90% in most of the world’s least-developed countries”

World Water Assessment Program, 2014

Livestock consumes 56% of freshwater in the US

“Irrigating feed crops and raising livestock consume 56% of all freshwater in the United States. In contrast, domestically all showers taken, toilets flushed, cars washed, glasses drunk, and lawns watered, consume less than one-tenth as much water as agriculture”

Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006


1kg of animal protein uses 100x the water of plant protein

“Producing 1 kg of animal protein requires about
100 times more water than producing 1 kg of grain protein”

American Journal on Clinical Nutrition, 2003

1kg beef uses 43k litres of water

“43,000 litres of water is required to produce 1 kg of beef”

Oxford Journals BioScience, 2004

Annual showers for 4 people uses 90k litres water, the same required to produce 2kg of beef

“The average four-person UK family would use 90,000 litres of water per year for their daily showers”

The Telegraph, 2011