The decline in U.S. groundwater levels poses a threat to millions of people's drinking water, farming productivity, and national security.
Climate change, unsustainable irrigation practices, and the lack of a national conservation plan contribute to groundwater depletion.
The absence of a unified plan further exacerbates the crisis. Depleting the aquifers of water faster than it can refill results in reduced groundwater quantities and, therefore, reduced crop yield potential. Aquifers are relied on not only for agriculture but also for drinking water, and they are essential for healthy lakes and rivers.
We should have addressed this crisis sooner. Neglecting gradual groundwater depletion was a mistake.
In 2020, farmers and livestock operations in Michigan used 187 billion gallons of water, double the amount in 2009. Most of the water – 70 percent – came from high-capacity wells. They irrigate 570,000 acres, or roughly 100,000 acres more than in 2009, according to state figures.
Farmers want a management plan. State and national leaders must prioritize long-term threats and protect their constituents. Neglecting this crisis jeopardizes our water supply, food security, and national well-being.
It's time to raise awareness and demand action, including wise investment in groundwater conservation. Let us remind Representative Bergman and others of their responsibility towards securing a better future for all.