As more and more is pulled from aquifers, long-term consequences will be felt. Farmers will need to go even deeper to access the groundwater needed for operations or find other water resources. In fact, in the future, acquiring clean water could be a very costly endeavor for farmers. However, agriculture ag loans may be able to help cover the additional cost of acquiring clean water.
Here are some popular predictions about the long term consequences of aquifer depletion in the United States.
Depletion Will Have Lasting Effects
An aquifer is a limited natural resource. The more that we draw upon it, the less we will have in the future. As a result, we are seeing aquifer depletion. The long term consequences of this include:
- Wells drying up
- Deterioration of water quality
- Higher pumping costs
- Land subsidence
Wells Drying Up
Aquifer depletion means that the water table is continuously being lowered. Accessing the aquifer requires a well that reaches below the water table. As the water table gets lower, farmers are finding existing wells above the new water table. This essentially means that their current wells have dried up and now they must bore their well deeper.
Deterioration of Water Quality
Very deep groundwater levels are saline. This type of water is ineffective for farming practices and would require desalination before use. Once we start tapping into saline groundwater as a result of depletion, we risk contaminating the remaining stores of fresh water.
Higher Pumping Costs
The deeper a well is, the more it costs to draw water out of it. More energy is required to pull the water higher, driving up the cost of accessing clean water. When wells get too deep, accessing the water can become prohibitively expensive and farmers may find themselves with agriculture ag loans to cover these costs.
Aquifers are needed to support the soil structure. When water is removed from the soil, it often collapses, compacts, and drops. A depleting aquifer is thus a major contributor to land subsidence and can have a negative impact across an entire farm.
Prepare for the Future
Carefully monitoring your groundwater usage can help protect the aquifer to a degree, but it is going to take a collaborative effort. Talk to an AgAmerica loan officer today to discuss agriculture ag loans and how they can provide the needed capital to deal with aquifer depletion.