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That only scratches the surface – literally – of the world's water problem.If this continues, the consequences could be dire, especially for water-stressed and fast-growing Asia.Subterranean aquifers are repositories of water located deep underground, in permeable rock, soil or sand.Surface water resources, such as desalinated seawater or recycled wastewater, will not close the global gap – predicted to reach 40 percent by 2030 – between water supply and demand. So subterranean aquifers are increasingly being exploited for agriculture, power generation, and daily use in fast-growing cities (urban Asia is growing at a rate of 120,000 people per day).Today, about 30 percent of the world's liquid freshwater comes from subterranean aquifers. Some of the most stressed aquifers are in the driest regions, including Asia, up to 88 percent of which is water-stressed.South Asia alone accounts for half the groundwater used globally.Nature Geoscience estimates that more than 60 percent of groundwater in the Indo-Gangetic aquifer is contaminated by arsenic or salt. In Bangladesh, water tainted by arsenic is blamed for more than 40,000 deaths each year.
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