Over One-Third of the World's Biggest Groundwater basins are under distress, show NASA’s Grace Satellites
The latest piece of information relayed by the NASA’s Grace Satellite Mission has confirmed that the groundwater basins around the world are running out of water. The study was published online in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, this Tuesday.
The scientists from the University of California, Irvine, analyzed data collected by the twin satellites between the period from 2003 and 2013. They concluded that more than a third of the world's biggest groundwater basins were under distress, due to unsustainable handling by humans. Climate change and population growth, added to the pressure on these already overburdened aquifers.
On a closer look, they found that the driest regions had the most heavily stressed basins. This was owing to the fact that the populace here, depended massively on underground water to meet their needs. Out of the 37 largest aquifers, they found that eight were overstressed, with no natural replenishment to compensate for the usage. 13 were being depleted but still received little to no recharge, while five were observed to be distressed to varying degrees.
The Arabian Aquifer System in the Middle East, that feeds some 60 million people, topped the list. This was closely followed by India and Pakistan’s Indus Basin and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa. The scientists used the variations in Earth’s gravity to gauge water levels, as water weight has a bearing on the planet's gravitational forces.
However, researchers warned that these estimates still might be optimistic. Therefore, a concerted effort to replenish the depleting groundwater reserves was needed.
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