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      Scientists' Warning on the Conservation of Subterranean Ecosystems

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          Global Water Pollution and Human Health

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            Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint.

            Groundwater is a life-sustaining resource that supplies water to billions of people, plays a central part in irrigated agriculture and influences the health of many ecosystems. Most assessments of global water resources have focused on surface water, but unsustainable depletion of groundwater has recently been documented on both regional and global scales. It remains unclear how the rate of global groundwater depletion compares to the rate of natural renewal and the supply needed to support ecosystems. Here we define the groundwater footprint (the area required to sustain groundwater use and groundwater-dependent ecosystem services) and show that humans are overexploiting groundwater in many large aquifers that are critical to agriculture, especially in Asia and North America. We estimate that the size of the global groundwater footprint is currently about 3.5 times the actual area of aquifers and that about 1.7 billion people live in areas where groundwater resources and/or groundwater-dependent ecosystems are under threat. That said, 80 per cent of aquifers have a groundwater footprint that is less than their area, meaning that the net global value is driven by a few heavily overexploited aquifers. The groundwater footprint is the first tool suitable for consistently evaluating the use, renewal and ecosystem requirements of groundwater at an aquifer scale. It can be combined with the water footprint and virtual water calculations, and be used to assess the potential for increasing agricultural yields with renewable groundwaterref. The method could be modified to evaluate other resources with renewal rates that are slow and spatially heterogeneous, such as fisheries, forestry or soil.
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              Emerging organic contaminants in groundwater: A review of sources, fate and occurrence.

              Emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) detected in groundwater may have adverse effects on human health and aquatic ecosystems. This paper reviews the existing occurrence data in groundwater for a range of EOCs including pharmaceutical, personal care, 'life-style' and selected industrial compounds. The main sources and pathways for organic EOCs in groundwater are reviewed, with occurrence data for EOCs in groundwater included from both targeted studies and broad reconnaissance surveys. Nanogram-microgram per litre concentrations are present in groundwater for a large range of EOCs as well as metabolites and transformation products and under certain conditions may pose a threat to freshwater bodies for decades due to relatively long groundwater residence times. In the coming decades, more of these EOCs are likely to have drinking water standards, environmental quality standards and/or groundwater threshold values defined, and therefore a better understanding of the spatial and temporal variation remains a priority. Copyright © 2012 Natural Environment Research Council. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BioScience
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                0006-3568
                1525-3244
                June 19 2019
                June 19 2019
                Article
                10.1093/biosci/biz064
                4502bfb9-d7cd-4ad5-b848-0429fa0fe300
                © 2019

                https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model

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