Fossil Water

fresh waterScientists have discovered large aquifers in the continental shelves off Australia, China, North American and South Africa.  This article  calls them “low salinity” and the headline says “fresh water”.  (You have to be careful of headlines, but let’s accept it at face value for the moment).

This is great news.  It is thought that the fresh water accumulated when sea levels were much lower and was protected from the rising sea water by impermeable layers of clay.  Perhaps thirsty countries can access the water with horizontal drilling from the coast.  Such wells wouldn’t be cheap, but this discovery may mitigate a looming world water shortage.  That would give humanity time for a longer-term solution, such as naturally falling populations or improved desalinization and recycling technologies.

It’s nice to get hopeful news from time to time.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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