Kansas – According to researchers from Kansas, approximately 2 billion people would need to prepare themselves and plan ahead for new water supplies in less than half a century from today.
Scientists from Kansas State University, who were studying groundwater declines in Western Kansas, published their results in the National Academy of Sciences and found that farmers had taken around 3 percent of the aquifer’s supply by 1960, and 30 percent by 2010. At the current rates, the same experts estimate that an additional 39 percent of water in aquifers will disappear by 2060, and once exhausted, the aquifer could take up to 1,300 years to fill up again.
The most affected from this possible scenario are most likely to be nations in the Northern Hemisphere, including Middle Eastern countries. The largest basins in the world, such as the Shatt al-Arab, which provide largely to these nations, as well as Spain, Portugal, and France, will be amongst the most affected due to climate change. Researchers also found that around 100 water basins will also be implied in the effects of the melting snowpacks.
However, large regions of North America, China, Russia, Northern Europe and Asia will not be as affected, as they still rely on rainfall to supply for highest demands.
The United States faces serious trouble with climate change and its western states, such as California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas. Hydrologist David Garen raised questions regarding the possible lack of necessary water supplies in order to sustain agricultural production in the states, mainly because this sector is highly dependent of streamflow from melted snow from the north to support its irrigation systems.
American climate scientist Lonnie Thompson stated that snowpacks along with glaciers are considered to be insurance policies that store water and later release it during the dry seasons, therefore, maintaining water flow for municipal supplies, hydroelectric power and irrigation systems.
“The problem with making policy changes is that the models, while very good on the global scale, are not very good in predicting regional impacts of climate change, thus it becomes very difficult in predicting what those policy changes would be for any given river basin and certainly that will change from site to site,” explained Thompson.
Source: Nature World Report