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Big farms and flawless fries are gulping water in the land of 10,000 lakes

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: In the summer of 2021, Minnesota faced a severe drought, shrinking numerous water bodies
• Large farms like R.D. Offutt Farms overused groundwater irrigation, intensifying the drought's impact

🔭 The context: In Minnesota, known for its 10,000 lakes, the drought led to significant groundwater overuse, mostly for agricultural purpose
• R.D. Offutt Farms alone was responsible for about a third of the over-pumping, primarily to cater to the demands of fast food companies like McDonald's

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The heavy extraction threatens the drinking water supply for millions and jeopardizes America's position as a leading food exporter
• Additionally, overuse of groundwater isn't limited to Minnesota but is a nationwide concern

⏭️ What's next: Minnesota's groundwater usage is incrementing at a high pace, surging from 50 permits in the 1960s to over 7,000 in 2022
• Despite permitting systems, monitoring depends largely on an honor system, making potential misuse a concern

💬 One quote: “We have this really intensive groundwater use, expanding to aquifers we don’t yet understand very well... we may not be leaving enough groundwater for future generations.” (Ellen Considine, a hydrologist supervisor with Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources)

📈 One stat: In the summer of 2021, fields linked to R.D. Offutt were irrigated using water from over 500 wells, showcasing the massive scale of groundwater consumption by just one company

Click for more news covering the latest on water

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