Scientists believe they’ve discovered a freshwater aquifer off the east coast of the United States beneath the ocean. It’s believed to span from Massachusetts to New Jersey about 50 miles out to sea. Current estimates are the aquifer is about 670 cubic miles, making it the largest of its kind.
As we recently wrote, aquifers are permeable rocks where water can be stored underground. They can serve as underground reservoirs for groundwater. The water in aquifers can be pumped in or out when needed. When the water in aquifers is depleted, like a cell phone battery, it can take a long time to recharge and may never reach its full capacity.
The prospect of discovering a freshwater aquifer of this size is exciting. And according to Newsweek, “The discovery also indicates that other, major reservoirs of fresh water could be lurking beneath the ocean—and that these aquifers could provide a vital resource for people living in regions of water scarcity.”
For example, Chennai, a city with approximately 10 million people, is running out of water. And Chennai is far from alone. The World Health Organization estimates approximately 800 million people do not have access to drinking water service and, by 2025, half of the world's population will be living in “water-stressed areas.”
Researchers believe there may be other aquifers elsewhere in the world that have yet to be discovered, which can potentially help those in areas that need water the most.