Researchers Discover Huge Freshwater Reserves Under Ocean FloorsS

As earth's population surges, mankind faces an increasingly limited supply of fresh water. Thankfully, Australian scientists report this week that they've found vast new fresh water supplies. Unfortunately, it's in one of earth's least accessible places: under the ocean floor.

Published in this week's Nature, the research compiles mounting evidence that fresh groundwater reserves exist off the shores of Australia, China, North America and Africa. The researchers estimate that 500,000 cubic kilometers of fresh water is trapped in aquifers under the ocean floor — more than 20 times the volume of water in all five Great Lakes.

Getting to the water without contaminating it presents an enormous challenge. But with 40% of the world's population already living in conditions of water scarcity, it may prove to be necessary. [Nature via Forbes]

Image: Shutterstock / Jovana Milanko