Water is a valuable resource for both humans and ecological systems.
Groundwater is extracted where surface water, including streams, reservoirs, lakes, and other water bodies are scarce or inaccessible. Indeed, groundwater can help meet hydrological needs; for example, in the US, groundwater meets half of the country’s total population water drinking needs, but at a cost. On the long-term, its levels have been declining from continuous pumping, resulting in depletion.
Lowering of the water table is not the sole impact. Sustained groundwater extraction also leads to decreased water quality, as causing contamination by salt water.
Water stress can be defined as “the ratio of freshwater withdrawn to total renewable freshwater resources”. In 2017, Central and Southern Asia and Northern Africa suffered from very high water stress of over 70%. In the same year, Western and Eastern Asia registered high water stress of 54% and 46%.
As of 2018, freshwater bodies covered 2.1% of land, but they are unevenly distributed worldwide. The distribution ranges from 3.5% in developed nations, 1.4% in developing countries, 1.2% in the least developed nations, and 1% in small island developing states. These percentages are expected to decrease as climate change continues, further exacerbating water scarcity and affecting ecosystems and livelihoods.
Found more information about this issue on the United States Geological Survey website and the Groundwater Foundation website.