Human activity is leading to the rapid draining of about one third of the planet’s largest underground water reserves and it is unclear how much fluid remains in them, two new studies have found.
Consequently, huge sections of the population are using up groundwater without knowing when it will run out, researchers said in findings that will appear in the journal Water Resources Research and were posted online Tuesday.
“Available physical and chemical measurements are simply insufficient,” University of California Irvine professor and principal investigator Jay Famiglietti said in a statement.
“Given how quickly we are consuming the world’s groundwater reserves, we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left,” added Famiglietti, who is also the senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Scientists used data from special NASA satellites to measure groundwater losses.
In the first paper, they looked at 37 of Earth’s biggest aquifers between 2003 and 2013. Eight of these were classified as “overstressed,” meaning they were being sucked dry with almost no natural replenishment to offset the usage.
Five other aquifers were determined to be “extremely or highly stressed.”
Scientists warned the situation would only worsen with climate change and population growth. The most overburdened aquifers are in the world’s driest places, where there is little natural replenishment.
“What happens when a highly stressed aquifer is located in a region with socioeconomic or political tensions that can’t supplement declining water supplies fast enough?” said Alexandra Richey, the lead author on both studies.
“We’re trying to raise red flags now to pinpoint where active management today could protect future lives and livelihoods.”
Researchers found that the Arabian Aquifer System, providing water for more than 60 million people, is the world’s most overstressed source.
The Indus Basin aquifer of northwestern India and Pakistan is the second-most overstressed, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa is third, scientists said.
In drought-striken California, the Central Valley aquifer was labeled as “highly stressed.”
The second paper concludes that the total remaining volume of the world’s usable groundwater is poorly known and huge discrepancies exist in estimated “time to depletion.”
“We don’t actually know how much is stored in each of these aquifers. Estimates of remaining storage might vary from decades to millennia,” Richey said.
“In a water-scarce society, we can no longer tolerate this level of uncertainty, especially since groundwater is disappearing so rapidly.”
Priest bound and gagged teen boy with masking tape and held him hostage in church’s janitor room
A Michigan Catholic priest has been charged with one count of false imprisonment after he wrapped a teenage boy in plastic wrap and covered his eyes and mouth with masking tape, all while trapping him in the janitor's room of a church, ClickOnDetroit reports.
Rev. Brian Stanley, 57, faces up to 15 years in prison and would also have to register as a sex offender if convicted.
Stanley was reportedly entrusted by the teen's family as a counselor before the incident took place in the fall of 2013 at St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Otsego.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News ripped to shreds by media analyst for running state-news network briefing for Trump
Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple unleashed hellfire on former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News for hiring her to deliver the White House spin for the president on their air.
Fox News, which has only modest actual news reporting outside of its opinion arm, but that's no reason to hire a liar to the network, he explained.
He cited the greatest hits from the Huckabee-Sanders show that happened less and less frequently from the White House podium. He included everything from the time she doctored a video of CNN's Jim Acosta to accuse him of assaulting a White House intern to her accusation of "fake news" to every question she didn't like.