NPG Forum Paper Links Population Growth to Worsening U.S. Groundwater Scarcity

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New analysis finds America’s water resources endangered by overpopulation and development.

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After President Trump’s 2018 budget cut $2 billion in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – which included money earmarked for groundwater cleanup and restoration projects, Negative Population Growth (NPG) will release a new Forum paper today highlighting the link between population growth and deteriorating U.S. groundwater resources. Unfortunately for pro-growth optimists, the paper begins with a warning: “we face an increasing demand for potable drinking water to serve the nourishment needs of our ever-growing population. …Yet it is almost inevitable: the limited groundwater in America’s already threatened aquifers will be drained at an ever-increasing rate to fill the gap.”

In the new publication, dedicated researcher and longtime NPG author Christopher J. Daly reviews the dwindling supply – and diminishing quality – of our nation’s groundwater. Filled with shocking statistics illustrating Earth’s truly limited quantities of this life-giving resource, Daly rejects the prevalent conviction that present conservation methods will preserve our water supplies for the long-term – or renew them within a sufficient timeframe. Titled America’s Groundwater: Are We Doing Enough to Save It?, the new Forum paper echoes NPG’s concerns that our growing human numbers are creating a domino effect on Earth’s natural resources – which are ultimately limited.

Daly notes: “Groundwater is being used up at an ever-increasing pace. And lower levels of this valuable resource in key aquifers mean less local water for the communities, farms, businesses and wildlife that depend on the water lying in the earth beneath them.” The paper also highlights why dwindling supplies of groundwater are of major concern in the U.S.: “Groundwater is the source of drinking water for about half the nation and nearly all of the rural population, and it provides over 50 million gallons per day in support of the nation’s agricultural economy.” Even more alarmingly, Daly’s report explains that of all the world’s water, over 96% is saline – only 2.5% is freshwater, and 68% of that freshwater is inaccessible. The paper explains: “‘Sources of freshwater weigh in at about 22,300 cubic miles of water – about 1/150th of 1% of the world’s total water.’”

NPG President Donald Mann praised the work, adding: “This new Forum paper echoes NPG’s long-held concerns regarding our limited water supply. In masterful detail, Daly explains that the incredibly small supply of our nation’s groundwater is shared by 325 million people. And our nation’s population is growing every day – presently by an average of one person every 12 seconds.” In the Forum piece, Daly notes: “…the bottom line is that there are no long-term ‘smart growth’ solutions to rationing and saving America’s groundwater – which is why we must act now to reduce U.S. population to a much smaller, truly sustainable size.”

A frequent NPG contributing author, Daly advocates the prompt reduction of U.S. population to an ecologically-sustainable size through voluntary incentives. He finds that if present trends in consumption and population growth persist, we will soon run out of water – our most critical natural resource. Daly explains: “Without question, the U.S. must find more ways to stretch America’s water supplies through efficiency, conservation, recycling, and better agricultural management. …Yet without a substantial reduction in U.S. population, none of these efforts will succeed in the long term – and we will be confronted with a massive water and food crisis.”

NPG President Donald Mann noted: “Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans – both our elected officials and the general public – still have not recognized the root cause of the water and other resource depletion problems we face. At 325 million people, the United States is already unsustainably overpopulated – and yet the Census Bureau projects that we will continue to grow, reaching 400 million by mid-century.” He added: “NPG hopes that the alarming reality – artfully relayed within Daly’s perceptive work – will reach more of our nation’s citizens and elected officials. Only then can we foster broad public support for national policies which work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth – until we reach a much smaller, truly sustainable level.”

Founded in 1972, NPG is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to educating the American public and political leaders regarding the damaging effects of population growth. We believe that our nation is already vastly overpopulated in terms of the long-range carrying capacity of its resources and environment. NPG advocates the adoption of its Proposed National Population Policy, with the goal of eventually stabilizing U.S. population at a sustainable level – far lower than today’s. We do not simply identify the problems – we propose solutions. For more information, visit our website at, follow us on Facebook @NegativePopulationGrowth or follow us on Twitter @npg_org.

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Craig Lewis