A Typical Day at Plant With Purpose: Lunch, Random News, and Aquifers

Written by Plant With Purpose on August 9, 2012 in General

By Becky Rosaler

On any given day at the U.S. Plant With Purpose office, you never know where the topic of conversation will turn. A variety of interests and even languages spoken here keeps our minds engaged, and it makes me feel like I’ve found kindred spirits in my coworkers.

For example, over lunch on Monday a recent article on aquifers and Borrego Springs (a desert community east of San Diego) came up. The article focused on how quickly the aquifers are being drained by the community, farmers, and golf courses. We voiced our frustration: Who thought it would be a good idea to put golf courses in the desert anyway?

But quickly, my mind traveled back to my childhood. My great-grandparents moved to San Diego in the 50s, when the area was just beginning to develop. Grandpa Van suffered from asthma, and his doctors encouraged him to spend time in the desert where the air was drier. And so he and my grandmother moved to Borrego Springs and purchased a mobile home in a retirement community there. I have countless memories of playing shuffleboard, listening to “elevator music” at the pool, the heat of the afternoons, and one lush, green strip that ran the perimeter of the mobile home park. But even as a child, I knew that Borrego wouldn’t expand to a metropolis because it didn’t have the water supply to support much life.

Back in the office I came across the San Diego Union Tribune‘s “Special Report: Aquifers shrink, nation digs deeper” article and wanted to pass it on to our blog community. Aquifers remind Plant With Purpose of the importance of trees, as they play a critical role in the hydrologic cycle (great fact sheet on the hydrologic cycle here). Their roots help rainwater to infiltrate the soil and replenish the water table underneath. The newspaper article explains that these underground sources of water worldwide are being pumped at unsustainable rates. 

Below are a few sound bites from Mike Lee and his special report:  

Groundwater is hard to manage and measure because it’s mostly invisible. It seeps into the earth from lakes, rain and other sources. Then, it collects in zones called aquifers where the soil becomes saturated to the point where it can support regular withdrawals or even spill water onto the surface.

“It took Mother Nature in some cases thousands of years to accumulate the water in the aquifers, but we are pumping it out in mere decades,” said Robert Glennon, a law professor and water expert at the University of Arizona. “It’s a huge national and international problem. … It is utterly unsustainable and scary.”

A 2010 study led by a researcher in the Netherlands said the rate at which global groundwater stocks are shrinking more than doubled between 1960 and 2000. And a more recent report by a U.S. Geological Survey scientist showed that groundwater depletion rates were relatively low before 1950, then spiraled upward starting in the 2000s.

By planting trees around the world, Plant With Purpose farmers are helping to replenish aquifers. They are also finding alternate ways to capture water through the construction of cisterns, and they are replenishing water tables by protecting and reforesting watershed areas.

At Plant With Purpose, we are finding hope in the Lord’s claims:
“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. 
I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, 
that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.” — Isaiah 41:18-20



Leave a Reply