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An aquifer is a layer of water-bearing permeable rock[?], sand, or gravel capable of providing significant amounts of water. The upper boundary of an aquifer is known as the water table.

Aquifers are critically important in human habitation and agriculture. Deep aquifers in arid areas have long been water sources for irrigation. Many villages and even large cities draw their water supply from wells in aquifers.

The most sustainable aquifers, and those most often used for city water supplies, are riparian aquifers. These are present in unconsolidated deposits of sand and gravel along river corridors, and are usually rapidly replenished.

The Oglalla Aquifer[?] of the central United States is one of the world's great aquifers, but is being rapidly depleted. This huge aquifer, present in around eight states, comprises fossil water from the time of the last glaciation.

Aquifer depletion is a global problem, and is especially critical in northern Africa.

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