The Stream, June 25, 2019: Massive Undersea Freshwater Aquifer Found Off U.S. Northeast Coast

The Global Rundown

Scientists discover a sizable undersea freshwater aquifer off the coast of the northwestern United States. Water shortages could hamper food exports from India. China needs more than $400 billion to improve pollution and sanitation in rural areas. Chennai, India, plans to transport water from other parts of Tamil Nadu as the city’s reservoirs dip below 1 percent. Unrelenting rainfall continues to disrupt agriculture in the Midwestern U.S.

“We’re crushing all kinds of rainfall records.” –Mike Tannura, founder of T-Storm Weather, in reference to extreme rainfall in recent months across the midwestern U.S. The precipitation has delayed planting by several weeks, including in key corn-growing regions such as Illinois. Many farmers are now facing a mid-October harvest time, raising fears of an early frost. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

12 million tonnes Amount of rice exported by India annually, making it the world’s largest rice exporter. India is a key exporter of several other crops as well, but the country’s water resources manager warns that countrywide water scarcity could cut exports. Reuters

In context: Toxic Water, Toxic Crops: India’s Public Health Time Bomb

$440 billion Amount that China needs in order to improve rural sanitation and clean up polluted water and soil in its countryside. This year, China has set aside $1 billion for a rural “toilet revolution.” Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

An analysis of the sub-sea floor along the northwestern U.S. coast revealed an enormous aquifer of nearly freshwater stretching from Massachusetts to New Jersey. The water, which is encased in porous sediments, is the largest undersea freshwater aquifer found in the world, covering about 15,000 square miles. Researchers are hopeful that similar formations exist elsewhere on earth. Science Daily

On the Radar

With key reservoirs in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, at less than one percent capacity, the city is planning to ship 10 million liters of water from other parts of the state via train. The state’s fisheries minister, D. Jayakumar, participated in a ceremony petitioning the Hindu god Shiva to deliver rain. Chennai’s severe water shortage has forced businesses to close and has caused violence to break out among residents. Bloomberg

In context: Reservoirs in Parched Chennai, City of Millions, Are Dry. Can Better Forecasting Avert Future Crises?

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