Rabu, 23 Juni 2010

China's Future Water Shortage

China is depleting its underground water reserves in an effort to increase its agricultural productivity, according to a news article in Science magazine. Hundreds of thousands of wells were drilled in the North China Plain over the past 40 years, turning the plain into a fertile corn- and wheat-farming region. But the water table in the North China Plain is now falling at an alarming rate. Many of the wells are expected to run dry within the next couple of decades, putting at risk China’s ability to feed its growing population.

Water in deep underground aquifers exchanges only slowly with surface water. According to experts, some of the water now being drawn out in the North China Plain aquifer has been underground for 30,000 years. It might be that long again before it could be replaced naturally. In other words, water in deep underground aquifers should be thought of as a non-renewable resource, like coal, oil, and gas.

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