Friday, March 11, 2011

breadbasket running dry?

naturalnews | It's the largest underground freshwater supply in the world, stretching from South Dakota all the way to Texas. It's underneath most of Nebraska's farmlands, and it provides crucial water resources for farming in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and even New Mexico. It's called the Ogallala Aquifer, and it is being pumped dry.

Without the Ogallala Aquifer, America's heartland food production collapses. No water means no irrigation for the corn, wheat, alfalfa and other crops grown across these states to feed people and animals. And each year, the Ogallala Aquifer drops another few inches as it is literally being sucked dry by the tens of thousands of agricultural wells that tap into it across the heartland of America.

This problem with all this is that the Ogallala Aquifer isn't being recharged in any significant way from rainfall or rivers. This is so-called "fossil water" because once you use it, it's gone. And it's disappearing now faster than ever.

The end of cheap food in America?
It's a sobering thought, really: That "America's breadbasket" is on a collision course with the inevitable. A large percentage of the food produced in the United States is, of course, grown on farmlands irrigated from the Ogallala. For hundreds of years, it has been a source of "cheap water," making farming economically feasible and keeping food prices down. Combined with the available of cheap fossil fuels over the last century (necessary to drive the tractors that work the fields), food production has skyrocketed in North America. This has led to a population explosion, too. Where food is cheap and plentiful, populations readily expand.

It only follows that when food becomes scarce or expensive (putting it out of reach of average income earners), populations will fall. There's only so much food to go around, after all. And after the Ogallala runs dry, America's food production will plummet. Starvation will become the new American landscape for those who cannot afford the sky-high prices for food.