The Need for Groundwater Extraction Regulation

1963 WordsJan 25, 20188 Pages
Groundwater is used primarily for irrigating farmland; and secondarily, for consumption and industrial use. Aquifers, unconsolidated subterranean layers which hold water, are rapidly dwindling, and groundwater depletion is quickly growing to become a major problem for farmers and the public at large. Reserves close to ground level are rapidly drying up and due to technological roadblocks, extracting water from deeper reserves is not yet financially feasible. The problem is especially severe in California, which represents around 20% of all groundwater withdrawal in the United States (Famiglietti, LA Times). A lack of water for agriculture would directly lead to diminished food production and indirectly lead to requiring food imports from outside the state. Groundwater resources are an unregulated public resource and despite any innovative breakthrough in extraction techniques, the only sustainable, long-term solution is to enforce limits on extraction. Regulation of how much groundwater can be extracted from an aquifer in a set period of time; along with incentives to obtain water from alternative sources is the ideal solution to address the perennially growing challenge of groundwater depletion in California. This regulatory effort must begin in politics but it needs to spread to society as well – only when people realize the consequences of over-extraction will they even consider ceasing doing so. This solution is not based primarily in science and technology, and is
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