Ground water being depleted at an accelerating rate - 10 Oct 2010  
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A new study from the Netherlands underscores the urgency of water as a global issue. Professor Marc Bierkens and a team at Utrecht University evaluated groundwater as a source and found that its depletion rate has more than doubled between 1960 and 2000, with aquifers losing almost 70 cubic miles of water per year.

For most aquifers, such an extraction rate far exceeds their ability to replenish. With total groundwater quantities being unknown, scientists are unable to say exactly when the global supply would be exhausted.

However, the matter could be critical in countries like the United States, where groundwater supplies 95% of the country’s needs resource. In the Midwest, for example, the 800-mile long Ogallala aquifer provides eight Midwestern states with drinking water and irrigates one-fifth of the nation’s farmlands.

Yet it is being drained at a rate that some experts say will cause it to run dry in as little as 25 years. Moreover, the researchers found that 70 to 80% of the water is being used by agriculture, with much of it consumed through the production of foods or other items.

According to the Stockholm International Water Institute, the most significant use of agricultural water is through meat production, with animal-based diets consuming vastly more than their vegetarian counterparts. Experts have also found meat consumption to be one of the major causes of global warming.

In an interview with Supreme Master Television, British Member of Parliament Mr. Virendra Sharma highlighted the need to adjust our diet to address climate change and improve public health.

Supreme Master TV: Meat production uses much more water than growing vegetables. Do you think lifestyle changes like eating less meat are important to saving energy and water?

Virendra Sharma – Member of Parliament, United Kingdom (M): For both points: Health first, that it is important as there’s scientific proof, all the health experts, all the specialists, all the campaigning bodies also indicate that it is true that veganism can help in reducing the health diseases. I do firmly believe in that and I support that. And I feel it that yes, eating less meat will help in reducing the carbon footprints, reducing use of water.

VOICE: We thank Professor Bierkens and colleagues at Utrecht University for highlighting the urgent depletion of precious ground water supplies, and Parliament Member Sharma for reaffirming the value of the plant-based diet for conserving resources as well as our own well-being. May we act swiftly and wisely to ensure a safe, plentiful future for humans and animals alike.

Virendra Sharma (M): Hi, I am Virendra Sharma, Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall, United Kingdom. You are watching Supreme Master Television. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

Supreme Master Ching Hai has often explained why a meat-free diet is a priority today in protecting the Earth’s drinking water supplies, as in this October 2009 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan).

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We tell people to do organic farming, how to conserve rainwater, ground water, and conserve land, planting trees to attract rain, etc. In the Alwar district of Rajasthan, India, one Indian village was able to guide the water enough that it brought back to life five flowing rivers - five flowing rivers – that had been dead before, been dried up before due to withdrawing too much water.

We could learn from them as well. But even these water losses pale in comparison to the incredible amount of water that is wasted for animal production. It takes approximately 4,664 liters of water to produce just one serving of beef, but an entire vegan meal can be produced with only 371 liters of water. The livestock sector is probably the world's biggest source of water pollution as well.

Water means everything to our existence. We must conserve the water; we must do everything we can. And the first step to begin is to be vegan.