Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Changing Earth - Water supply in Australia & the Great Plains of the USA

In 40 years, the distribution of rainfall in Australia has changed.

Changes like this affect water supply to cities and to agriculture.

Many parts of the world will see problems with water supply as climate change continues.

Since the 1940s, farming on the southern Great Plains of the USA—Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas—has relied on irrigation. 

On the high plains of Texas, tens of thousands of wells pumping from the 10-million-year-old Ogallala Aquifer have reduced the water content by 50 percent. 

Most of the remaining underground water source will probably be useless within about 30 years.

Katharine Hayhoe, professor and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, says big changes are on the way for agriculture on the Great Plains.

"We're seeing major shifts in places and times we can plant, the types of crops we can grow and the pests and diseases we're dealing with.

"There's no question we can adapt to some of the change, but whether we can adapt to all of it is a very open question."

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