Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
The Revelator, a publication of the Center for Biological Diversity, reported on a new study that found that “fresh” groundwater is 50% less plentiful in several key U.S. regions than scientists previously believed. Therefore, digging deeper to find groundwater that is drinkable (not too salty or contaminated) is an increasingly infeasible answer to water shortages across the country.
The scientists from the University of Arizona found that groundwater aquifers are being depleted not only by excessive withdrawals but also by the oil and gas industry contaminating deep groundwater supplies by using those areas to withdraw water and/or inject contaminated water that is a byproduct of fracking.
In many regions, the oil and gas industry uses “pore” spaces for energy production and waste disposal and those uses are rendering many deep water aquifers contaminated.
In the past, digging deeper to find usable water underground has been a successful source of fresh water, but that deep groundwater needs to be fresh and free of contaminants.
The researchers found that the oil and gas industry uses fresh and brackish water, both of which are drawn from the deep aquifers, which is another reason for the shortages.
For example, the scientists found that in Wyoming and the Michigan, where oil and gas activities are relatively shallow and in close proximity to fresh and brackish water, there is a greater chance that those activities contaminate important groundwater resources. In fact, the water supply in Pavillion, Wyoming has already been contaminated by oil and gas activity.
Why This Matters: We are sucking water out of the ground at unsustainable rates, particularly in areas that have already depleted surface water supplies, like the Central Valley of California. But we are also using up and contaminating our deep groundwater supplies in other parts of the country due to fracking. It is like finding out that your savings account is only worth half what you thought. Climate change is creating droughts and water shortages, and now we are making both climate change and water supply challenges worse by fracking for oil and gas. We may need the water in the long run more for drinking than for fracking for oil and gas extraction. Yet another reason why we must wean ourselves off fossil fuels.
The U.S. Air Force has finally learned enough information to begin cleaning up a jet fuel leak from Albuquerque’s drinking water supply. The Kirtland Air Force Base plans to write and submit a report to the New Mexico Environmental Department before the agency can approve and make recommendations for cleanup. This comes as a relief […]
by Jessica Grannis We’re in the dog days of summer now, and lots of folks are headed to the beach to make up for lost time since the pandemic began. My favorite part of traveling to the coast from DC is watching my surroundings slowly turn from urban areas to the forests of the coastal […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The West is currently in the middle of a severe drought, and Lake Powell, the region’s second-largest reservoir, is at its lowest level in decades. The lake, located on the Colorado River, is effectively a human-made storage basin that keeps the regional water supply in balance under the 100-year-old […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.