Billions of people around the world depend on groundwater for their everyday needs, yet the reality is that groundwater is being over-exploited and polluted, putting the well-being of people and ecosystems at risk. Although groundwater is often out of sight, humanity cannot keep it out of mind.
About 1.7 billion people live above over-stressed aquifers, especially in regions of the Middle East, North Africa and South and East Asia. As drought and climate change wrack shrinking groundwater supplies, wealthier people and businesses drill to deeper depths, an option unaffordable for others. Depleted aquifers can lead to water scarcity, food insecurity, human conflict and migrant flows.
Because of these crises, almost 800 scientists, practitioners wrote a statement in Nature that “raises the alarm that we are not sufficiently protecting and managing our global groundwater resources. If we do not act now, we face long-term declines in the planet’s ability to support drinking water and food production, and adapt to climate change.”