Tags: Climate Change | groundwater | reservoir | depleted | critical | aquifers | not

NASA Scientist: We're Running Out of Groundwater, Situation 'Critical'

NASA Scientist: We're Running Out of Groundwater, Situation 'Critical'
Agricultural farm land is shown near the Salton Sea and the town of Calipatria in California May 31, 2015. California is enduring its worst drought on record. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 June 2015 06:49 PM

More than half of the world's largest underground water reservoirs are reportedly going dry — with more water being removed than is being replaced.

Citing two studies by U.S. researchers, the Washington Post reports 21 of the world’s 37 largest aquifers around the globe, including India, China, the United States and France, have passed their "sustainability tipping points."

Thirteen of 37 aquifers were considered the most troubled, the Post reports; underground aquifers supply 35 percent of the water used by humans.

"The situation is quite critical," Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California Irvine-led studies’ principal investigator told the Post.

"The water table is dropping all over the world. There’s not an infinite supply of water."

In the most-troubled category were the Canning Basin in Australia, with the the third-highest rate of depletion in the world; the studies noted heavy mining is carried out near the basin, and mining is a "water-intensive activity," the Post reports.

In the United States, California’s Central Valley Aquifer was in the most trouble, drained to irrigate farm fields. With the added pressure of the drought plaguing the state, California is currently tapping aquifers for 60 percent of its water use, up from the usual 40 percent, the Post reports.

Also draining more than is replaced is the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains Aquifer, which stretches across the Gulf Coast and Florida. Three other aquifers in the middle of the country appeared to be in relatively good shape, the studies show.

The studies were published Tuesday in the Water Resources Research journal.

The new studies used NASA’s GRACE satellites to take precise measurements of the groundwater reservoirs; as the satellites flew overhead, slight changes in aquifer water levels were charted over a decade, from 2003 to 2013.

"We need to get our heads together on how we manage groundwater, because we’re running out of it," Famiglietti warns the Post.

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More than half of the world's largest underground water reservoirs are reportedly going dry - with more water being removed than is being replaced. Citing two studies by U.S. researchers, the Washington Post reports 21 of the world's 37 largest aquifers around the globe,...
groundwater, reservoir, depleted, critical, aquifers, not, replenished
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2015-49-16
Tuesday, 16 June 2015 06:49 PM
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