Huge Stores of Fresh Groundwater Discovered Beneath Ocean Floor

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 9 2013 5:13 PM

Huge Stores of Fresh Groundwater Discovered Beneath Ocean Floor

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Water reserves found beneath the ocean floor could provide new source of drinking water.

Photo by INGO WAGNER/AFP/Getty Images

Scientists have discovered vast reserves of freshwater underneath the ocean floor, according to a new study. The discovery, published in the journal Nature last week, is part of “mounting evidence for the global occurrence of offshore fresh and brackish groundwater reserves.” Once thought to be a rare occurrence, the study estimates that half a million cubic kilometers of low salinity water sits below the seabed off the coasts of Australia, China, North America and South Africa and could provide a new source of drinking water, which is becoming increasingly scarce, according to Science Daily.

"The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we've extracted from the Earth's sub-surface in the past century since 1900," Vincent Post, the study’s lead author told Science Daily. "Knowing about these reserves is great news because this volume of water could sustain some regions for decades."

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.