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Harbinger of global water crisis: evidence that Northern India's ground water is being used up

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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 11:08 AM
Original message
Harbinger of global water crisis: evidence that Northern India's ground water is being used up
Edited on Thu Aug-20-09 11:22 AM by Nothing Without Hope
faster than it can be replaced by natural processes. This process is not unique to India and represents a major danger to the ability of the world's peoples to support themselves with agriculture as it is practiced now and also to maintaining cities and settlements in arid areas. Ways MUST be found to reduce water wastage and to produce and distribute clean, desalinated water cheaply.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/0908121439...
Satellites Unlock Secret To Northern India's Vanishing Water

ScienceDaily (Aug. 19, 2009) Using satellite data, UC Irvine and NASA hydrologists have found that groundwater beneath northern India has been receding by as much as 1 foot per year over the past decade and they believe human consumption is almost entirely to blame.

(snip)

People are pumping northern India's underground water, mostly to irrigate cropland, faster than natural processes can replenish it, said Jay Famiglietti and Isabella Velicogna, UCI Earth system scientists, and Matt Rodell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

"If measures are not soon taken to ensure sustainable groundwater usage, consequences for the 114 million residents of the region may include a collapse of agricultural output, severe shortages of potable water, conflict and suffering," said Rodell, lead author of the study and former doctoral student of Famiglietti's at the University of Texas at Austin.

Study results will be published online Aug. 12 in the journal Nature.

(snip)


The map shows groundwater changes in India during 2002-08, with losses in red and gains in blue, based on GRACE satellite observations. The estimated rate of depletion of groundwater in northwestern India is 4.0 centimeters of water per year, equivalent to a water table decline of 33 centimeters per year. Increases in groundwater in southern India are due to recent above-average rainfall, whereas rain in northwestern India was close to normal during the study period. (Credit: I. Velicogna/UC Irvine)



Water is tomorrow's oil in the sense that it is an ever more precious and limited resource that is not evenly distributed. Indeed, it is far MORE precious than oil, because it is essential to life. When one country occupies or otherwise seeks to dominate another, it is always important to evaluate what part is played by the battle for water rights.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. And the Himalayan glaciers that feed the Ganges are melting
India is talked about as transitioning to a developed state. But I don't see it as a real possibility. Instead, conditions are likely to deteriorate as population outstrips resources.

Himalayan glaciers may disappear by 2035
http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/38627
<SNIP>

As the chairman of the International Commission for Snow and Ices (ICSI) working group on Himalayan Glaciology, Hasnain was then quoted by The New Scientist in the June 5, 1999, issue, in which also he had warned that most of the glaciers in the Himalayan region will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming?. The article also predicted that freshwater flow in rivers across South Asia would eventually diminish, resulting in widespread water shortages.?

The Tribune in mid-July carried a special report quoting American environment guru Lester R. Brown, who warned that the way Indian glaciers were melting because of climate change, the Ganga may turn into a ``mausmi nadi before the turn of this century as its origin - the Gangotri glacier - was shrinking at an alarming speed. Many Himalayan glaciers could melt entirely by 2035,? Brown has also warned.

The giant Gangotri glacier supplies 70 per cent of the Ganga flow during the dry season. A study carried out by the Indias Department of Science and Technology has found the Gangotri glacier shrinking at a pace of 17 m a year due to global warming and climate change. Its mammoth neighbour Pindari glacier is also reportedly melting at a speed of about 9.5 m a year. The Gangotri glacier is the outlet of one of the largest glacier systems in the Himalayas, and the source of the Bhagirathi, one of the major tributaries of the Ganga.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thank you for this additional information.
I'm starting to think that I may need to repost this in the environmental forum, since it seems to be sinking into invisibility here. I can't understand why more people aren't concerned about this global issue.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. DU is like the Main Stream Media cable news channels
It finds it hard to pay attention to more than a very few issues at a time. Health care is the main issue of the day, and pretty much is drowning out everything else.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Too true. I have reposted this thread in the Environment/Energy Forum here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Far fewer people read threads in that forum, and it is like preaching to the already-converted. But at least there will be some small amount of visibility.
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create.peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. yes, i have been pretty disappointed in the one trick pony nature of du
i spend a lot of time on environmental sites/blogs.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. We do, but it's up to India's government to decide what they want to do.
In case nobody's noticed, we're not a one-world government quite yet.

Greenpeace can pay people pennies to hold up a sign begging... Secretary of State Clinton to help, but the last I checked she does not reside in India's government and therefore has no official status. She may have clout, but it's still up to India's government to do their part too.

Ditto for every government and those who run it versus outsiders looking in, regardless of clout they may have.



Greenpeace doing this stunt was probably very naive. Then again, maybe they're telling the world to look to US officials as the only competent leaders on this planet and that nobody else has the capability. (Which is :sarcasm: to be sure, but looking solely at that picture and knowing we're not a one-world government, there are plenty of possible ideas for people to conjure up without any context.)
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I am not suggesting that the US intervene in India. I am showing evidence
demonstrating a growing WORLD problem. The satellite study gives results for India, but the problem of insufficient water affects countries and areas all around the world. And water is absolutely essential. Just as there have been wars of aggression over oil, if current trends continue, future wars will be fought over water. This is a WORLD problem. I also believe that we need to include this factor in analyzing current aggression around the world, especially in arid areas.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
8. kick for visibility n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
9. Another kick for visibility. Water is tomorrow's oil. n/t
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 08:32 AM
Response to Original message
10. another kick n/t
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