Good article, Wayne. The Colorado watershed has improved some, up to 65% from a low of 50% a few years back(NOW, 9-2012, it is 47%). Still only a two year supply in a real drought. The AGW fluctuation and added evap makes it harder for water managers. The article was on watersheds and >>not much on the >>real danger<<, >>>>running out of aquifer water in many large pop and ag locales.<<<<<<
I found this bookmarked.
"Water Supply and the Impact on Food Security
Map of the Ogallala Aquifer from wikipediaNoodling around the Internet, I came across a year-old Scientific American article about the coming disappearance of the Ogallala Aquifer, the vast underground water source that lies under America's breadbasket and irrigates crops that supply one fifth of the total annual agricultural harvest in the U.S. The High Plains, the area above this endangered aquifer supplies a large amount of the corn, sorghum, soybeans, wheat and cotton that America produces for itself and the world.
According to wikipedia, the U.S. Geological Survey, in its mass-balance studies of the aquifer, indicated in 2005 that 312 cubic km of water had been pumped out since irrigation and agricultural development began in the area in 1911. That's 9% of the 3,608 cubic km left in 2005. Serious tapping of water from the Ogallala began in the 1950's. At the current rate of pumping, some experts estimate that the aquifer will dry up in as little as 25 years. Of course, more efficient farming practices can slow that rate down.
(NOW, in part of the Ogallala, W. No. Dak. have gone to a 10,000% increase in drawdown!!! all from fracking!!)
Increased focus on local food anyone? Seriously, that was the first thought that crossed my mind as I read about the likely disappearance of the Ogallala. Just as we work individually and collectively to shift to alternative fuels to make the transition to a world of peak oil, we also need to be shifting to relying on local sources of food because our children and grandchildren are not going to be able to rely on America's breadbasket for their food supply."
Not to mention that 70 large metropolitan areas also depend on the Ogallala, and California has screwed the farmers and ranchers for the central valley water from the San Joaquin Aquifer and the watershed feeding it, so that the overpopulation of SoCal can continue---for a while. The blog was from WA and it will be looking at the Columbia Aquifer depletion sometime in the not too distant future. Cities sinking in Texas, rivers running dry in the NE, FL looking grim, and other places with tight water and surface water that is polluted.
It is the weakest link in the chain of sustainability.(see chapter 29 of Immigration's Unarmed Invasion: Deadly Consequences" I wrote)
It is bad in most of Africa, the ME, parts of India, and parts of China. Other places with plenty of water, but it is highly polluted like in SE Asia.
Of course, the main culprit is overpopulation. Even here in the USA.
I see future migrations for water, more conflicts over water, and higher costs for water, and with it, food, in a poorer world.
No matter how efficient you get, or how much and good you can recycle it, overpopulation takes away those gains and causes shortages, until mass deaths reduce the demands.