Research Shows Our Groundwater Pumping is Shifting Earth’s Axis

New research has revealed that our insatiable thirst for groundwater is so significant that it’s tilting Earth’s rotational axis. We’ve extracted so much liquid from subsurface reserves over the past decade, that it has tipped our planet’s axis to the east by about 1.7 inches per year. This shift ALSO contributes to global sea level rise.

It’s not just about the planet’s axis. Groundwater plays a vital role for global river systems, and our intensive extraction is causing a “slow desiccation” of river ecosystems worldwide. Groundwater is essential to life here on Earth, watering 40% of the food we grow. As we drain this resource, we threaten not just our water supplies, but also the rivers, streams, and habitats around them.

Why does this matter? Water is an indispensable part of the energy transition. It’s needed in large quantities for energy production and extraction processes, and also for irrigation of bioenergy crops. As we transition towards a more sustainable and renewable energy future, the demand for water in the energy sector is expected to grow substantially. 

But here’s the catch. Without critical water infrastructure investments, we risk exacerbating the situation. We need to enhance our understanding of the water-energy nexus, minimize water-related risks, and ensure sustainable use of water resources. Investments in efficient, resilient, and adaptable water infrastructure are non-negotiable. 

This news is a wake-up call. It’s high time we rethink how we use and value water, not just as a life-sustaining resource, but as a critical component of our energy future. Let’s not forget, we only have one planet and there’s no Planet B. 

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