Ideas for Understanding and Responding to the World’s Groundwater Challenge | PODCAST |

Well drillers for Hydro Resources drill a well near Sublette, Kansas. Photo © Brian Lehmann / Circle of Blue
Large-scale exploitation of groundwater began in the 1950s and continues today.

The water that flows underground and between soil particles gave rise to the Green Revolution in India and allows desert agriculture to flourish. It nourishes streams and springs and is the primary drinking water source for nearly half of the world’s people. Yet, due to urbanization, climate change, energy extraction, food production, and other demands, groundwater is under extreme pressure.

William Alley, director of science and technology at the National Groundwater Association, and Rosemarie Alley, a science writer, are the authors of High and Dry, a book that explores the world’s growing dependence on groundwater. Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton spoke with the Alleys about the role of science in groundwater management and the knowledge that is necessary for sustaining what they call “the neglected child of the water world.”


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Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton