Satellites that monitor subtle changes in the Earth's gravitational field, show that the aquifers are over-pumped in many areas worldwide, without even knowing whether there are stocks or if water simply dries up.
Satellites that monitor subtle changes in the Earth's gravitational field, show that the aquifers are over-pumped in many areas worldwide, without even knowing whether there are stocks or if water simply dries up.In most regions of the world, subsoil collects large amounts of rainwater, which permeates porous rocks and often can be drawn with relative ease.
The problem is that the pumping rate often exceeds the rate at which groundwater stocks are renewed.
Researchers examine changes in 37 major groundwater basins during the decade from 2003 to 2013, and it was found that 13 of them face large charges. As expected, the problem is most acute in arid regions of the world.
The maximum charges are recorded in the Arabian Peninsula, where the underground reservoir is an important water source for 60 million people, in the Indus river basin in Northwestern India and Pakistan, and in Murzuq in Northern Africa.
In the Central Valley of California that hosts extensive crops that are important for the US economy, are experiencing a prolonged drought that has led to unprecedented, mandatory restrictions on water consumption.
The study team utilizes measurements of the twin GRACE satellites of NASA, which measure the intensity of the gravitational field around the planet. The intensity is influenced by changes in mass, such as the mass of the water which is pumped from underground.
The time remaining until the depletion of groundwater in Northwest Sahara has been estimated from 10 years to 21,000 years.
The depth of stockpiles that show up to what level the humidity rises, often makes the research boreholes difficult and expensive. However, the researchers insist that something must be done.
"I think we should investigate aquifers as if they had the same value as the oil reserves," says James Famiglietti, a leading hydrologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We need to open up drilling for water in the same way as we open drilling for other resources."
Source: Climate Progress
Source: Climate Progress
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