Groundwater, making the invisible visible

Every March 22 we celebrate World Water Day, and in 2022 the theme chosen by the United Nations is “Groundwater, making the invisible visible”. It seeks to focus attention on the importance that the main source of water for human consumption is groundwater, so it must be protected by giving it a sustainable use, in such a way that it allows meeting the needs of a growing population.

Water is the vital element for life on Earth. Yet 2.2 billion people live without access to clean water. All social, economic and environmental activities depend on the supply of fresh water and that its quality is drinkable for human consumption. The global crisis over access to water is considered one of the largest on the planet, which is why it is SDG 6: Ensure access to Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.

Groundwater is present everywhere and is considered invisible because it is underground. They are located in aquifers, rock formations, sand and gravel that concentrate large amounts of water; they nourish rivers, lakes, springs, wetlands, so they are decisive for the proper functioning of their ecosystems. In the end they discharge their waters into seas and oceans. They are supplied by rain and snow that permeate the soil.

Its extraction is through wells and water pumps. In most deserts and arid areas of the planet, this resource is depended on to supply almost all of the water used for consumption, sanitation, food production and industrial processes.

Climate change generates increasingly intense events, such as droughts and floods. Rational water management is essential to building society’s resilience against these growing threats.

The vertiginous increase in the population suggests that by 2050 it will reach 9,000 million people. It will take more water to produce 60% more food, so the way we use water in agriculture needs to be made more efficient and make the most of limited water resources.

Aíxa Chacín

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