We are depleting our supply of fresh water throughout the world.

In a 2015 article published in The Washington Post, Todd C. Frankel made the following startling statement.

“The world’s largest underground aquifers – a source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people — are being depleted at alarming rates, according to new NASA satellite data that provides the most detailed picture yet of vital water reserves hidden under the Earth’s surface.”

He went on to say that

“Twenty-one of the world’s 37 largest aquifers — in locations from India and China to the United States and France — have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period, researchers announced Tuesday. Thirteen aquifers declined at rates that put them into the most troubled category. The researchers said this indicated a long-term problem that’s likely to worsen as reliance on aquifers grows.”

How are we depleting all of this water?

Well as the world’s population continues to increase, our demand for water increases along with it. Therefore we pump water faster than it can be replenished in order to fulfill our daily needs.

Just around our Great Lakes, we pump 3.2 trillion liters of water a day and 7.4 billion liters do not get returned.

The Aral Sea near Kazakhstan was formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world. It has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. Today, the shrunken Aral Sea has been called “one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters.”

You might be asking yourself “but we only need water for domestic and agricultural use, why do we need to pump so much of it?”

We use fresh water for a lot more than just those basic needs. It is also used in the generation of electricity as well as in the manufacturing industry.

The following chart shows how much water is needed to manufacture certain items.

Item Liters of Water
1 car 350,000
1 smart phone 12,075
1 car tire 7,570
1 pair of jeans 6,813
1 cotton t-shirt 2,495
1 disposable diaper 545
1 L of paint 49
1 microchip 22
1 sheet of paper 11
1 L of water 4