Are we losing America’s water supplies?
How fast? And how dangerously?

Some day we’ll look back and see that a few of today’s threats to American families were false alarms. Right? (Like maybe the federal budget deficit. It’s beginning to seem a whole lot smaller than a year or two ago.)

US aquifers are increasingly not sustainable.But America’s water supply does not seem to be a Chicken-Little fear. A big study from the US Geological Survey, out this week, tells us:

One of the best known and most investigated aquifers in the US is the High Plains (or Ogallala) aquifer. It underlies more than 170,000 square miles of the nation’s midsection and represents the principal source of water for irrigation and drinking in this major agricultural area. Substantial pumping of the High Plains aquifer has resulted in large water-table declines that exceed 160 feet in places.”

And depletion is accelerating. During the last eight years studied (2001-2008), the depletion was 32% of the total depletion during the entire previous century.

In the affected localities, it’s easy to foresee local limits on water use, and maybe some land subsidence. (Our free Where-To-Live reports indicate exactly where drought is most likely.) But the big impact on the next generation all across the country will be on the our food supply. Most of it comes from the big aquifer areas throughout the country.

Two years ago this cost – and danger – was a worry. Today we see just how fast it’s growing.

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