Researchers warn of a drastic lack of groundwater due to climate change. Probably only half of the world’s groundwater resources would fully replenish or rebalance over the next 100 years.

Environmental Time Bomb

As a result of climate change, future generations may face a drastic shortage of groundwater. According to a study published on Monday by an international research group in the journal Nature Climate Change, over the next 100 years, probably only half of the world’s groundwater resources will be fully replenished or rebalanced.

Responsible for this were extreme periods of drought or heavy rains, the consequences of which would only be noticeable after a considerable time lag. The scientists used computer models based on groundwater data for their forecasts. The results alarmed the researchers: “This could be described as an environmental time bomb because all of the now occurring consequences of climate change for groundwater recharge will not fully impact baseline flow to rivers or wetlands much later,” said Mark Cuthbert of the Faculty of Science Earth and Marine Sciences at Cardiff University.

The process, in which rainwater is filtered and accumulates in deeper layers of soil as groundwater, could take centuries. The exact duration varies from region to region. This process could take several thousand years, especially in already arid areas such as the Sahara.

However, humanity is not aware of this problem. “Groundwater is out of sight and out of the mind, this huge hidden resource that people do not think about much, even though it supports global food production,” said Cuthbert.

Today, the groundwater supplies are endangered by the rapidly growing number of people on earth and the associated increase in food production.

Sources: Die Presse