Fresh water beneath the sea

It’s long been known that water is a finite resource — a harsh reality on a planet where human populations are on a constant rise.


Now it appears that the supply of water is far greater than previously thought. A report coming out last month describes the discovery of a massive body of mostly fresh water beneath the ocean off the eastern coast of the United States.

The discovery of the undersea lake – which the journal Scientific Reports says could be as large as 15,000 square miles, almost the size of Lake Huron, one of North America’s five Great Lakes – isn’t entirely new to scientists.

Ever since offshore oil drillers picked up pockets of fresh water off the coastline in the 1970s, there’s been awareness of some water trapped in  porous undersea structures 75 miles off the shores of Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

But the magnificent size of the aquifer 1,000 feet below the ocean floor is new information.

The huge lake of water off the East Coast is believed to be a remnant of the Ice Age, and experts believe that runoff from land might also be a source.

The discovery sheds important new light on the function of aquifers.

The finding might also prompt serious new thinking about groundwater and its perilous condition in an ever-changing world.

The finding is fueling thoughts that there could be other such undersea supplies in other parts of the world – and in that a possible solution to water fresh water shortages that have been the bane of millions of people.

One’s first thought reasonably goes to how all that water can be accessed. Let there be an accompanying thought about what sorts of environmental effect(s) might result.