A Gunrun Project

Earth’s underground water quantified

November 17, 2015

The total amount of groundwater on the planet, held in rock and soil below our feet, is estimated to be 23 million cubic km.
If this volume is hard to visualise, imagine the Earth’s entire land surface covered in a layer some 180m deep.

What California Can Learn From Saudi Arabia’s Water Mystery

Oakland, California, United States
Text by Nathan Halverson - Reveal, Photographs by Balazs Gardi, April 27, 2015

This article originally appeared on Reveal

A decade ago, reports began emerging of a strange occurrence in the Saudi Arabian desert. Ancient desert springs were drying up.

The springs fed the lush oases depicted in the Bible and Quran, and as the water disappeared, these verdant gardens of life were returning to sand.

Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters

April 17, 2015
Mother Jones

The water-intensive nature of almond milk, of course, is no secret. By law, food manufacturers have to name ingredients in order of their prevalence in the product. For Califia and other almond milk brands, it starts like this: “filtered water, almonds.” Given that it takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond in California, where 80 percent of the world’s almonds are produced, drenching the finished product in yet more water seems insane.

“My family is breathing horrible fumes, we can’t enjoy our property and we’re trapped because no one else wants to live here. To protect our homes and our health, we’ve got no choice but to ban fracking.”

− Maile Bush,

Denton, TX resident

Fukushima nuclear plant: Toxic isotope found in groundwater

June 19, 2013

Strontium-90 is formed as a by-product of nuclear fission. Tests showed that levels of strontium in groundwater at the Fukushima plant had increased 100-fold since the end of last year, Toshihiko Fukuda, a Tepco official, told media.

“When we look at the impact that is having on the ocean, the levels seem to be within past trends and so we don’t believe it’s having an effect.”

A Land Enriched by Water

June 18, 2013
Denmark DK, The Official Website of Denmark

Other European countries obtain much of their drinking water from the surfaces of lakes and rivers, but in Denmark there are such large quantities of clean water underground that it covers the entire country’s water needs including domestic consumption and use, agriculture and industry.

Deep Canadian mine yields ancient water

May 15, 2013

Water drilled from rock in a North American mine is among the oldest yet found on Earth, say scientists.
Novel dating techniques used by the Canadian and UK team suggest the fluid is at least 1.5 billion years old.
The water was probably once on the surface and then percolated through the ground where it became trapped at a depth of 2.4km.

Toxic Wasteland Named After the Lake it Destroyed

Cajamarca, Peru
Balazs Gardi, May 2, 2013

The Yanacocha goldmine was named after the lake that had since been destroyed by the company after the operation started twenty years ago. Up to date the mine produced over $7 billion worth of gold for its Denver, Colorado based owners, destroyed over 250 square kilometers alpine wetland, poisoned over a thousand Peruvian people with mercury, and contaminated lakes and streams with cyanide and other acidic runoffs.

Space Innovators

April 25, 2012
The Daily Show

Wealthy “spend-o-nauts” announce plans to mine asteroids for precious minerals, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson reveals whether or not it’s bulls**t.

How asteroid mining could turn billionaires into trillionaires

April 25, 2012
The Christian Science Monitor

A cadre of Silicon Valley tycoons have announced plans to extract water and precious metals from near-Earth asteroids.

In addition to mining for platinum and other precious metals, the company plans to tap asteroids’ water to supply orbiting fuel depots, which could be used by NASA and others for robotic and human space missions.

“Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue, biomagnify in food chains, and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment”

− Wikipedia

“There is a view out there that says if it’s more than a few thousand feet deep we don’t really care … just go ahead and dump all that waste. There is an opposite view that says no, that is not sustainable water management policy”

− Mike Wireman,

EPA hydrologist

On a Wyoming Ranch, Feds Sacrifice Tomorrow’s Water to Mine Uranium Today

December 26, 2012

Modern mining for the radioactive ore inevitably pollutes water.

To avoid digging big holes in the ground, operators inject a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, hydrogen peroxide and oxygen into the rock to separate out the minerals and bond to the uranium. Then, they vacuum out the uranium-laden fluids to make a fine powder called yellowcake. The process leaves a toxic mix of heavy metals and radioactive ions floating in the groundwater and generates millions of gallons of waste that need to be dumped deeper underground.

New Zealand’s Dirty Secret

Awhitu Peninsula, New Zealand
December 25, 2012

Although New Zealand is well-known for its pristine nature and plentiful water resources the majority of its water systems are becoming increasingly polluted due to agricultural run-off and mismanagement.