There’s also serious pressure on ground water resources in other regions of the US.
Midwestern Farmers have relied on the High Plains Aquifer System since they first discovered the solution to their drought woes nearly six decades ago. The massive underground water source has turned a vast dry swath of the Great Plains from North Dakota to Texas into arable farmland. But in recent years reliance on the aquifer has skyrocketed—leading scientists to project that, barring a change in current irrigation trends, nearly 70 percent of the resource could be depleted in the next half century.
Scientists studying groundwater declines in western Kansas who published their results in the August 26 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that farmers had tapped close to 3 percent of the aquifer’s supply by 1960 and 30 percent by 2010. At current usage rates, they estimate that an additional 39 percent of the water in the aquifer will disappear by 2060. Once depleted, the aquifer could take anywhere from 500 to 1,300 years to completely refill.