For GSS Population Growth chapter 5. Excerpt: As population rises, overpumping means some nations have reached peak water, which threatens food supply. ...Today some 18 countries, containing half the world's people, are overpumping their aquifers. Among these are the big three grain producers – China, India, and the United States – and several other populous countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Mexico. During the last two decades, several of these countries have overpumped to the point that their aquifers are being depleted and their wells are going dry. They have passed not only peak water, but also peak grain production. ...Among the countries whose use of water has peaked and begun to decline are Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In these countries peak grain has followed peak water.... After being self-sufficient in wheat for over 20 years, the Saudis announced in early 2008 that, with their aquifers largely depleted, they would reduce wheat planting by one-eighth each year until 2016, when production would end. By then Saudi Arabia projects it will be importing some 15m tons of wheat, rice, corn and barley to feed its Canada-sized population of 30 million. It is the first country to publicly project how aquifer depletion will shrink its grain harvest.... Syria...grain production peaked in 2002... Iraq peaked in 2004. ...in the Arab Middle East the world is seeing the collision between population growth and water supply at the regional level. ...In the United States, farmers are over-pumping in the Western Great Plains, including in several leading grain-producing states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. ...but the water is drawn from the Ogallala aquifer, a huge underground water body that stretches from Nebraska southwards to the Texas Panhandle. It is, unfortunately, a fossil aquifer, one that does not recharge. Once it is depleted, the wells go dry and farmers either go back to dryland farming or abandon farming altogether, depending on local conditions.... http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jul/06/water-supplies-shrinking-threat-to-food. Lester Brown, The Observer.
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