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water Depletion

A glance at the globe suggests an inexhaustible supply of water.

• However, only about 3% is fresh water. • Of that 3%,  70% is locked in glaciers  29% is found underground in aquifers  1% is found in lakes, rivers, & streams

The World’s Water Supply


eventually finding its way into aquifers.underground layers of porous rock and soil. .Groundwater is . • This underground water moves very slowly and may take a long time to recharge or refill. • Result of rain water seeping into the ground. . . • Located in aquifers -. • An important source of fresh water (represents over 90% of the world's readily available fresh water).

usgs.html .gov/edu/earthgwaquifer.Groundwater Source: http://ga.water.

• Agriculture (42%) • Electricity generation (39%) • Homes/offices/hotels (11%) • Manufacturing and mining (8%) .People around the world use the earth’s supply of liquid fresh water for various purposes.

For more info and graphs see UNEP website.htm. What does this graph tell you about water withdrawal and consumption since 1900? Source: http://www.unep. .Global water use has changed over

the earth’s freshwater supply is limited.• The demand for water is increasing due to: Population growth Better technology making it easier to access water • But. .

• Therefore.Water & Population • The world’s population is growing at about 80 million people a year. an additional 64 billion cubic meters of water need to be found each year. .

• Diesel/electric pumps allow people to access water much more easily than by hand. .Better Technology • People access groundwater through wells either by hand or by diesel/electric pump.

wells will eventually run dry. because it has been in contact with rock formations for hundreds or thousands of years and minerals have dissolved into the water. deeper wells must be dug.Aquifer Depletion • As the demand for water increases. • Water from deeper below the earth’s surface is more likely to be contaminated with naturally occurring minerals. • Since aquifers recharge slowly. . such as radium.

Wisconsin. USA. and Sana’a. Yemen .Aquifer Depletion in Waukesha.

. the capital of Yemen. is located in the Middle East.Sana’a. one of the most waterscarce regions of the world.

. an area with abundant water resources.Waukesha is located near the Great Lakes.

Both regions risk losing their supply of fresh water as their aquifers are depleted. .

Waukesha & Water: A Historical View • Late 19th century. and fire hoses to protect their water supply from speculators. • Officials in Chicago and Milwaukee looked to Waukesha as a water source. New York Times. the people of Waukesha used pistols. Growth Stirs a Battle to Draw More Water From the Great Lakes. (2005. pitchforks. • Lake Michigan was polluted. . Waukesha was a resort town known for the healing properties of its mineralrich water. F. August 12). • In one incident in 1892. Source: Barringer.

4% between 2000 and 2005. • Population of city of Waukesha = 67. Waukesha is depleting its aquifer. • Population increase has led to increased demand for water.Waukesha Today • Today. • Its population increased 4.658. .

• Deeper wells = greater contamination of water. • The current water level is more than 600 feet below its original level. • Radium content of Waukesha’s water is more than double the acceptable level set by the EPA in 2000.Waukesha • Deeper and deeper wells have been dug. . • Radium exposure over a lifetime has been linked to higher risk of cancer.

• However. a water protection plan called “Annex 2001. • Waukesha is 5 miles outside the Great Lakes basin.” bans new diversions of water outside the Great Lakes natural basin. . Therefore it cannot take water.A Solution? • One solution proposed by City of Waukesha officials is to build a pipeline to access Lake Michigan water.

S. . and Canadian officials. city officials hope their proposal will be approved by U.• In spite of Annex 2001. • Supporters of this proposal state that the amount of water Waukesha would take would not stress the Great Lakes’ water supply.

. NV. • States in the West. • A third proposed solution is to obtain water from west of Waukesha which would cost twice as much. desperate for water. and CA) could look to Great Lakes as potential water source. • Another suggested solution for Waukesha’s water supply issues is water conservation.• Critics of Waukesha’s plan say that the problem is not that the amount of water used by Waukesha would damage the Great Lakes. (AZ. but that a precedent will be set.

Waukesha Questions • Which of these solutions do you think is best? Why? • Can you think of some other solutions? .

on a plateau surrounded by several mountains. Yemen • Sana’a. • The main source of water in the region is groundwater. • The old part of the city has been inhabited for more than 2500 years and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage city.Sana’a. • It is a generally dry place with low rainfall and limited surface water (few rivers or streams). is located at 7223 feet (2200 meters) above sea level. . the capital of Yemen.

. is growing at an even higher rate as people move from the rural areas to the city. • The population increase raises demand for water for drinking and growing food.747.91%).627. • Yemen is one of the world’s poorest countries. has a population growth rate of 0. • Sana’a.S.• Yemen has one of the highest population growth rates in the world at 3. with a population of 1.6% (in comparison the U.

Urban Farming. Photo credit: FAO .Sana’a Yemen • 60% of the people work as farmers. • Cultivation of qat (a tree that has leaves that are chewed as a stimulant in Yemen) and grapes (a cash crop) consume the majority of the water. Sana’a. • Agriculture in the Sana’a basin area accounts for 80% of water demand. Yemen.

.Better Technology Another reason for increase in water use is change from traditional farming and water management methods suitable for the region to modern farming techniques such as powerful water pumps which allow people to withdraw much more water.

industry.Sana’a and Aquifer Depletion • Sana’a’s aquifers are dropping at a rate of about 20 feet per year. and households. • If this rate continues they will be depleted by the end of decade. . • The groundwater is used in irrigated agriculture.

Sana’a and Aquifer Depletion Continued • Due to low rainfall. the groundwater does not recharge at a rate that can keep up with current demand and is therefore a (mostly) nonrenewable resource. . • In the Sana’a region farmers and the city are competing for water.

– Inefficient irrigation practices. .Reasons for Overuse of Groundwater According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Health Organization(WHO). – Fuel subsidies and low import duties on agricultural equipment. – High returns on cash crops. the reasons for overuse of groundwater are: – Unclear water rights and thus unregulated extraction.

this has not been enough to stop depletion of the city’s aquifers. .Response to Crisis By Government • The Yemeni government has – prohibited the drilling of new wells without a permit – prohibited the establishment of new industries that consume large amounts of water. • However.

or to relocate the capital. .Other Possible Solutions • Some other suggested solutions are to bring water from somewhere else. • Some solutions suggested by UNEP/WHO report were to reuse wastewater in the city and to conserve agricultural water. such as coastal desalination plants.

Sana’a Questions • Which of these solutions do you think is best? Why? • Can you think of some other solutions? .

social.Questions for both Waukesha and Sana’a • What are the similarities and differences between Waukesha and Sana’a? • Do you think each city needs a different solution? Why or why not? • If you could create international water supply guidelines that encouraged environmental. and economic sustainability what would they be? .