Monday, August 24, 2009

Low and dry

Eli has been pointing out that India is in no position to oppose a climate change treaty as their country is the one most at immediate risk outside of a few South Pacific Islands. As the Himalayan glaciers melt, the drinking water supply for close to a billion people disappears, a point made to some derision by Al Gore, but repeated complete with footnotes in the WGII report of the IPCC.

Gore was careful to say drinking water and he said within the next half century. The IPCC said maybe by 2035, which is only 25 years from now.

It's worse than that folks. The Indians have been drawing down the ground water at a much faster rate than anyone thought as measured by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) instrument

We don’t know the absolute volume of water in the Northern Indian aquifers, but GRACE provides strong evidence that current rates of water extraction are not sustainable," said Rodell. "The region has become dependent on irrigation to maximize agricultural productivity, so we could be looking at more than a water crisis."
Yep

5 comments:

Dano said...

Yes. Les Brown has been saying this for years. Decades. The Green Revolution was possible only by dint of cheap energy (new varieties are supported by cheap energy - take that away and the new varieties go away).

The issue is that we know these things. We don't want to address them. The longer we wait, the harder the landing.

Best,

D

David B. Benson said...

Crash!

Martin said...

Crash.

Alastair said...

It's not just the Indians who are in trouble. The Greeks too have based their agriculture on underground resevoirs which are now running dry. And the Australians have emptied the Murray-Darling river for irrigation and it is drying out affecting three of their six states.

I've little knowledge of the US, but I suspect that it too has squandered it water reserves which are required to produce the convection that draws in rain clouds from the oceans.

Penguindreams said...

Alastair: The US version, which we're being no more careful with than anybody else with any other aquifer, is the Ogallala Aquifer. It underlies South Dakota through to Texas/New Mexico, and underwrites much of the farming in that region (including Nebraska -- major farming state even by US standards). Last I saw, it was down to a matter of a few decades or less before it would be drained (business as usual pumping rates).