33% aquifers under stress

water, water-stress, aquifer, NASA, satellite California, drought

Scientist can’t say for sure how much water is left in the aquifers

According to a new study from researchers at the University of California and NASA about 33% of the aquifers is under stress.

New data from NASA Grace-satellites show that many big aquifers all over the world are being sucked dry at a rate far greater than they can be replenished. 

GRACE measures water under the ground. Satellites watched 37 aquifers world wide over the course of 10 years to see what was happening to the water they held.

Not surprising is that groundwater is being rapidly depleted in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. The aquifer under California’s drought-stricken Central Valley is also being overused.

Other places, such as the sparsely populated and very wet Amazon Basin and the U.S. Great Plains fared better. While the data provide reliable estimates of use, the researchers can’t say for sure how much water is left in the aquifers.

Link to the full report

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2 Responses to 33% aquifers under stress

  1. Scott Orr says:

    Need of the hour is to avoid rainwater storm water run off diverting it into the the ground for recharging aquifer. This is highly cost effective.

    In the western United States we have promoted Aquifer Storage & Recovery for years. Locally we have over 30 deep aquifer wells set up to not only receive injection water when we have an abundance of it like we have this year in Colorado and we can also recover the water when needed using the same injection wells.

    Our systems are fully automated, cost effective and can be retrofitted in to most existing municipal water supply wells. Yet due to political wrangling we cannot seem to get this proven system to gain any momentum. Once our aquifers are tapped out it may be too late to use the technology. You are all correct, the world really needs to do something now.

  2. Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Malik says:

    Groundwater mining occurs when abstraction exceeds replenishment.

    Replenishment occurs through seepage from watershed, rivers, canals, water bodies, irrigated fields, flood plains etc. Groundwater usage is rapidly increasing due to population growth, intensive farming, urbanization, industrialization, changing life style etc.

    Anthropogenic activities and development infrastructure reduce groundwater replacement in that the contact area and contact time of water with land surface is reduced resulting in reduced seepage.
    Not only mega projects have significant adverde impact on groundwater replenishment but indivifusls development activities combined together also have significant impct. Contruction of a house means reduction in quantum of seepage owing to pavement. Flood protection activities confine the flood water to a limited area thereby reduces cotact area of water with the land surface and hence reduced seepage.

    We have a policy of horizontal urbanization which not only increase the cost of urban land but also reduce seepage due to extensive horizontal pavements. Groundwater reservoir is the biggest natural reservoir and we need to develop policies for its continued sustainable replenishment together with regulating its abstraction.

    NASA satellite assess reserves by measuring earth gravity field which is influnced by quantum of water underneath. Its results truly indicated that groundwater reserves are decreasing in the north eastern part of the Indus Basin. This is mainly due to subsidized intensive pumpage for irrigation in Indian part of Punjan. That may develop reverse groundwater gradient and our groundwater may silently be flowing back into Indian territory.Whereas we have already been deprived of surface waters, our groundwater is also likrly to be snatched by neighbours. We need to take up this issue with upper riparian as it is a technical lacuna in the Indus Basin Treaty

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