Thread: Water security
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Old 2021-08-19, 15:14   #112
Dr Sardonicus
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Feb 2017

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Farmers are depleting the Ogallala Aquifer because the government pays them to do it
A slow-moving crisis threatens the U.S. Central Plains, which grow a quarter of the nation's crops. Underground, the region's lifeblood – water – is disappearing, placing one of the world's major food-producing regions at risk.

The Ogallala-High Plains Aquifer is one of the world's largest groundwater sources, extending from South Dakota down through the Texas Panhandle across portions of eight states. Its water supports US$35 billion in crop production each year.

But farmers are pulling water out of the Ogallala faster than rain and snow can recharge it. Between 1900 and 2008 they drained some 89 trillion gallons from the aquifer – equivalent to two-thirds of Lake Erie. Depletion is threatening drinking water supplies and undermining local communities already struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis, hospital closures, soaring farm losses and rising suicide rates.

In Kansas, "Day Zero" – the day wells run dry – has arrived for about 30% of the aquifer. Within 50 years, the entire aquifer is expected be 70% depleted.
Meanwhile, back in Colorado, Nestle - with the blessing of local officials - is pumping water out of an Upper Arkansas aquifer, putting it in plastic bottles, trucking it all over creation, and selling it. In the Midst of Water Emergency, Nestle Seeks to Export Chaffee County Water
Members of the Central Colorado Climate Coalition will be gathering with supporters to protest at the Chaffee County Commissioners meeting today, July 20, at the Chaffee County Courthouse in Salida. The non-profit has been speaking out against the Nestle Waters North America spring water pumping and bottling operation based in Chaffee County for over a year, and is hoping statewide media is ready to pay attention.

After months of public comments and citizen expert presentations arguing against corporate profiteering on local groundwater, the commissioners convened as the 1041 Permit Authority on July 6 and voted 2-1 with intent to approve the renewal of a 10-year permit. This permit will allow the newly-formed Blue Triton Brands to pump up to 65 million gallons of water from a local aquifer each year, and "replace" the loss to the Arkansas River by purchasing augmentation water from the Western Slope.
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