Monday, February 4, 2013

‘Mining’ groundwater could fuel climate change, study finds

Randy Shore in the Vancouver Sun: The world’s increasing reliance on deep groundwater for agricultural, residential and industrial use is fuelling crop-damaging soil salinity and depleting the world’s supply of fresh water, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Low-lying crop lands here in B.C. could be threatened, as water brought to the surface for human needs compounds the rise in sea levels predicted by climate change models.

The most immediate impact of over-use of groundwater will be on our ability to feed ourselves, according to one of the study’s co-authors Diana Allen, a professor of earth sciences at Simon Fraser University.

About half of British Columbia’s food supply is imported, much of it from California, which has suffered from drought and is projected to become even more reliant on groundwater as precipitation declines due to climate change.

“Water security and food security are inextricably linked,” Allen said. “And the resources that are available in our most productive agricultural areas are already showing signs of water stress.”...

Irrigation from an aquifer in the Egyptian Sahara, view from NASA

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