With growing populations the search for water has becomes more important all of the time and one of the important sources of water in many places in fossil water. Fossil water, or paleowater is water which has at some point in the distant past been trapped in an aquifer and has remained there undisturbed for millennia, what is important about this as opposed to other aquifers though is that at some point the shifting of the earth has sealed them off from their original source of water making them an nonrenewable resource.
It is this fitine supply that makes fossil water and water mining disturbing. For a short while this can supply a considerable boon to areas of the world which are short on water, allowing their populations to grow as they water crops and drink the water but just as oil wells eventually run dry these too will run dry, but in many ways the results of these will be far worse than that of oil wells for those in the area.
Yet the choice is not so simple. To suggest that they do not take the water out would be irresponsible. Many areas of the world are water deprived and the ability to use this water could save many lives. It is instead necessary that we monitor all aquifers carefully to determine which are truly fossil water and be aware of the depletion allowing for areas to use this limited resource carefully.
One of the most notable of these fossil water reservoirs is the Ogallala Aquifer also known as the high planes Aquifer, which can be found below the great plains of the United States, and while there is some water recharge in this aquifer meaning that is is not completely fossil water because it is renewable studies show that this water is being used much faster than it can recharge. Some believe that this aquifer will be dry in as little as twenty five years.
This is disturbing because water pulled from the aquifer covers portions of eight states, supplies thirty percent of the nations groundwater used for irrigation, and 82 percent of the drinking water for those who live within the boundaries of the Ogallaia Aquifer, and many farmers, most noticeably those in Texas high plains are beginning to turn away from irrigated farming, yet even with the beginning of true conservation of this water the levels in this and many other aquifers around the world is still depleting and we must continue to focus or attention on better hydrological budgets allowing for water to be taken at the same rate it is replenished whenever possible to avoid a sudden dust bowl when farmers discover that there is simply no more water to be taken.