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How much water does a typical aquifer contain, and is casual well use is likely to deplete them?

Your answer can take many forms, but an ideal question would cover these sort of areas- would a single well that someone took 50 liters from a day deplete one? Do you need industrial use of hundreds of meters cubed? Typically how vulnerable are they to depletion by people. Is there a lot of variability in size, or are they usually fairly large? Does it take months, years, decades?

Inspired by Mad Max, where there is a large mountain aquifer supplying a couple hundred people and I have no idea how long it would take to deplete.

Previous questions have covered this in vague terms but haven't given a general picture of what it's like for people in general, especially in more remote areas where they may not have access to the largest of aquifers, which apparently can last decades. I'm more curious what it's like for a random farmer.

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  • $\begingroup$ It depends on the size of the aquifer and the amount of precipitation falling on the exposed areas of the aquifer. These have been used to provide water form many major cities. $\endgroup$ – MiguelH Oct 3 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah. So some can supply entire cities. Is that normal for aquifers? I have no idea. Hence the question. $\endgroup$ – Nepene Nep Oct 3 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I started typing the answer as a comment. I can remove the comment it if you like! $\endgroup$ – MiguelH Oct 3 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ The largest aquifer is the Great Artesian Basin in Australia which is over 1 700 000 square kilometers & covers 22% of the continent. It is estimated to contain 64 900 cubic kilometers of water. $\endgroup$ – Fred Oct 3 at 13:40
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It depends on the size of the aquifer and the amount of precipitation falling on the exposed areas of the aquifer. These have been used to provide water form many major cities.

The Trafalgar square fountains were initially powered by artesian pressure (as London is below the altitude of the North downs / Chilterns). Eventully too much water was extracted leading to salt water incursions in places. This aquifer is still in use but backed up by a number of surface reservoirs surrounding the London area.

" The Report of the Royal Commission on Water Supply (1869) shows that, by 1869, a number of large conurbations were supplied by groundwater. Nottingham and parts of Liverpool and Birkenhead relied on wells in the Permo-Triassic sandstones, Sunderland and South Shields on the Permian Magnesian Limestone and Croydon and parts of south east London on the Chalk. Government offices around Westminster together with the fountains in Trafalgar Square were supplied by wells sunk to the Chalk in 1844 (Amos, 1860). "

More from here http://www.groundwateruk.org/British-Hydrogeology-a-brief-history.aspx

More detail on the London aquifer: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/735451/2018_Final.pdf

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  • $\begingroup$ Does that source have any estimations of the sizes of the sources they drew from? I can't see any. Since lots of different sources I don't know individually how large they are. $\endgroup$ – Nepene Nep Oct 3 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ @NepeneNep. I've update my answer with a link to details of the London aquifer $\endgroup$ – MiguelH Oct 3 at 14:30

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