The proposal, mooted by the company WaterQuest, involves tapping “distillate” that is generated when seawater enters the continental crust and gets converted to steam. The steam then condenses in pockets, which are between 300m to 800m below the earth’s surface, claims the company.
What is fossil water?
The term fossil water, or paleowater, refers to underground water reservoirs that have been geologically sealed. The water contained in them cannot be replenished and may have been locked in for thousands of years. The age of the water is what gives it the name fossil water.
According to Random Science, a blog, fossil water reserves are found in Sahara (North Africa), Kalahari (Southern Africa), Great Artesian Basin (Australia), and the Nubian Sandstone AquiferSystem (NE Africa) which is among the largest and most notable.
What is being proposed?
The project proposes to go deep into the crevices of the earth, and will be designe to detect with high precision the presence and location of naturally desalinated, self-recharging water sources that can supply water at a rate of 80,000 to 100,000 litres every hour. Under the project, each drill was to cost around Rs 12.5 crore.
Need to know
* By its very definition, fossil water will eventually run out once the population has come to rely upon it.
* Further, fossil water aquifers can be brackish and salt-water contaminated or even be highly radioactive depending on the surrounding geology.
* Withdrawing fossil water will also have many crucial consequences.
* The activity can reduce underground pressures which has many geological implications. Fossil water increases the total amount of water in the hydrosphere resulting in changes in climate in many parts of the world.
* The increased water vapor in the air encourages formation of more clouds which are primary absorbers of infrared radiation in the earth’s atmosphere. Moreover, fossil water may pose conflicts in many countries since its reserves cross several borders.