Water overdrafts


To address groundwater situations such as that explored in your recent article, "Death By a Thousand Wells," Congress must increase funding for the U.S. Geological Survey so it can conduct a comprehensive, nationwide groundwater mapping study (HCN, 10/26/09).

As a nation, we are highly reliant on our groundwater. It accounts for 40 percent of our drinking and agricultural supply. But even as its importance grows, the explosion of groundwater withdrawals -- for domestic wells, industry, municipal water supply and bottled water -- has had negative impacts on communities throughout the entire West.

Yet we can't efficiently regulate groundwater extractions because we don't know how much water lies below our nation's surface. The current groundwater situation is akin to withdrawing money indiscriminately from your bank account even though you don't know how much money it contains.

Mark Schlosberg
Western Regional Director
Food & Water Watch
San Francisco, California

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