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The United States Faces Great Drought: By 2050, Groundwater Will Deplete, Leaving Tens of Millions Waterless

American scientists have calculated that by 2050, the United States could lose a significant portion of its groundwater.

It turns out that eight major underground “basins” of fresh water, including the Missouri River Basin and part of the Mississippi River, have a 98% chance of completely drying up in the next 25 years.

Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found this out by modeling a scenario in which groundwater extraction in the United States in the coming years would occur at the same rate as it is currently.

It’s reported that under the most negative forecast, over 30 million Americans will be left without water, and nearly 130 million people will be affected overall.

If this scenario proves true, by the mid-21st century, water in the United States will be fully available only in the northeastern and some northwestern states.

Currently, the United States has about 33 trillion gallons of groundwater stored mainly in underground aquifers. However, the country extracts about 80 billion gallons from them every day.

With a sharp decline in groundwater levels, streams will disappear, and the land may sink and collapse, damaging roads, buildings, and other structures above ground.

“Many previous studies have shown that as demand for groundwater increases, aquatic ecosystems may experience greater stress, water pollution may spread, and lands above depleted aquifers may more frequently subside into the ground — a phenomenon known as land subsidence,” says Hasan Niazi, the lead author of the study.

The authors add that competing water interests arise from many sectors: energy, manufacturing, agriculture, livestock farming, and so on.

“Each of these sides may face unforeseen stress due to the growing demand for water in the region, leading to increased groundwater extraction.”

However, Niazi believes there is no reason for major panic yet.

“Our future scenarios are exploratory, meaning they represent ‘what if’ assessments rather than necessarily ‘predicting’ the future. I prefer to interpret the results through the lens of plausibility rather than probability, but we can infer the likelihood of the maximum outcome based on scenario convergence.”

Dried-up part of the California riverbed

Water problems in the United States began in the early 20th century. Authorities were forced to demolish several old dams to provide water for farmers and city dwellers.

Over the past 50 years, the United States has actively begun to deplete its non-renewable reserves of groundwater — valuable fresh water — which have accumulated underground over many thousands or even millions of years.

According to this scenario, California and Texas will suffer the most, and there is already a threat of drought there.

“Texas is losing groundwater at nearly twice the maximum sustainable rate — and according to plans already coordinated with local authorities, this figure is likely to increase in the coming years if officials do not change course,” researchers from Texas State University and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said.

“In mountainous areas, water levels are dropping, wells are drying up, and springs are disappearing. This is a sign that troubles are brewing in the state,” confirms Dr. Robert Mace.

By the way, this summer, unusually hot weather is predicted in the United States, including record-breaking temperatures. Scientists attribute this change to a Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which causes changes in wind patterns, resulting in much warmer summers than usual in some areas.

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