Most of the world consumes food produced with groundwater

Etxebeste Aduriz, Egoitz

Elhuyar Zientzia

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Most of the world's population consumes food produced with non-renewable groundwater. This is the result of a study to measure the impact of international food trade on groundwater. The work has been published in the journal Nature.

Currently, about 70% of groundwater is destined for agricultural uses, which is causing a sharp decrease in water levels of aquifers, especially in arid areas. In addition, in many of these aquifers water is not renewed and therefore is in the process of exhaustion. This, in addition to its effects on the environment, endangers the sustainability of food production. Well, this work, recently published in Nature, has calculated the consumption of non-renewable groundwater between 2000 and 2010 for the production of food moved in international trade.

According to these estimates, 11% of the non-renewable groundwater used at this time was destined for the production of exported food. And two-thirds of this water went to exports from three countries: Pakistan 29%, US 27% and India 12%. These countries mainly used water to produce wheat and rice.

In addition, researchers have found that countries with a majority of the world's population import most of the food from countries that use non-renewable groundwater. They stress that there are countries that have an especially important impact, since they do two things: export and import food produced with non-renewable groundwater. Among these countries are the US, Mexico, Iran and China.

Eusko Jaurlaritzako Industria, Merkataritza eta Turismo Saila