India’s vanishing groundwater

February 5, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Two new studies suggest that India’s aquifers are undergoing rapid depletion due, almost entirely, to water withdrawals for agricultural use. Satellite measurements indicate that the water table is sinking faster than anyone had previously estimated, with potentially dire implications for the 600 million people living regionally — nearly one-tenth of humanity — who rely on it.

One study appears in the journal Nature, the other in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

From the Nature study press release:

Using satellite data, UC Irvine and NASA hydrologists have found that groundwater beneath northern India has been receding by as much as 1 foot per year over the past decade – and they believe human consumption is almost entirely to blame.

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