Offthegridnews] Is the world about to run out of drinkable water? A new NASA report does not indicate we will all be dying of thirst in the near feature, but it does paint a grim picture of the state of the world’s largest underground aquifers.
According to the NASA report that used satellite imagery, 21 of the
37 largest aquifers in the world have passed their sustainability
tipping points, and 13 are considered “significantly distressed.” The
aquifers are located around the globe, from India to the United States,
and more water is being drawn from the underground water reserves than
is being replaced.
“Significant segments” of the world’s population “are consuming
groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out,” NASA said.
The depletion escalates during droughts.
Underground aquifers can take thousands of years to fill and only “recharge” from rainfall and snow melt slowly over time.
Although unknown to many Americans, aquifers are the source for much
of our drinking water as well as the watering of crops – particularly
out West and in the Heartland.
It’s the first study to comprehensively examine groundwater loss using data from space.
“Available physical and chemical measurements are simply
insufficient,” said principal investigator Jay Famiglietti, the senior
water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
California. “Given how quickly we are consuming the world’s groundwater
reserves, we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is
NASA experts added in the frightening report that the underground
aquifer levels are part of a “long-term problem” that is only going to
The study used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites.
“The situation is quite critical,” Famiglietti told the media “The
water table is dropping all over the world. There’s not an infinite
supply of water.”
Drought conditions increase demand on the underground water reserves.
California, which has been strapped with drought conditions for more
than a year, has reportedly been tapping into the aquifer for about 60
percent of the water used in the state. Approximately 40 percent of the
water used in California was typically drawn from the aquifer before the
drought. Read More