Date: 16 July 2015
Author: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) New data gathered by NASA satellites indicate that most of the world’s largest underground aquifers, sources of water for hundreds of millions of people, are being depleted at speedy rates.
The data, according to The Washington Post, provide the most compelling and detailed picture yet of the status of vital water reserves hidden underneath the earth’s surface.
The paper further reported:
Twenty-one of the world’s 37 largest aquifers — in locations from India and China to the United States and France — have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period, researchers announced…. Thirteen aquifers declined at rates that put them into the most troubled category. The researchers said this indicated a long-term problem that’s likely to worsen as reliance on aquifers grows.
For some time, scientists suspected that humans were exacting a toll on the globe’s underground water supply. However, the NASA data and study were the first to actually detail major aquifer draw-downs as they struggled to keep pace with agricultural, human need and industrial demands.
“The situation is quite critical,” Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and principal investigator of the University of California Irvine-led studies, told the Post.
Aquifers take thousands of years to fill
About 35 percent of the water used by humans around the globe is supplied by underground aquifers. In times of drought, as you might imagine, demand on them is even heavier. For instance, in California – now in its fourth year of a historic drought – some 60 percent of water is coming from underground aquifers, as rivers and above-ground reservoirs have long since dried up. That is a major increase from the average of 40 percent. By the end of 2015, some experts have speculated, the state will have to rely on underground sources for all of its water.
Those under the most duress are in densely populated and poor regions like northwest India, Pakistan and North Africa; there, alternatives to underground aquifers are limited, and shortages of water could quickly destabilize entire regions.
The Post further noted:
The researchers used NASA’s GRACE satellites to take precise measurements of the world’s groundwater aquifers. The satellites detected subtle changes in the Earth’s gravitational pull, noting where the heavier weight of water exerted a greater pull on the orbiting spacecraft. Slight changes in aquifer water levels were charted over a decade, from 2003 to 2013.
“This has really been our first chance to see how these large reservoirs change over time,” observed Gordon Grant, a research hydrologist at Oregon State University, who was not involved in the studies, the Post reported.
However, the NASA orbiting craft were unable to measure the aquifers’ total capacity, meaning the sheer size of these underground supplies is still relatively unknown. Nevertheless, the satellite data did indicate that some of the aquifers are likely much smaller than originally believed, meaning that most prior estimates of water capacity have “uncertainty ranges across orders of magnitude,” the study noted.
Aquifers can take up to thousands of years to refill.
“How many people can we accommodate?“
What to do?
Some “experts” are already offering extreme “solutions.” One of them is Professor John Schellnhuber, who has been chosen as a speaker for the Vatican’s rolling out of a Papal encyclical dealing largely with the issue of climate change.
He’s the professor who previously said the planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people. Now, the Vatican is giving him a platform which many expect will result in an official Church declaration in support of radical depopulation in the name of “climate science.”
Others, like California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, have made similar suggestions. In June, he tweeted out that his state may have too many people to accommodate with water running out.
“At some point, how many people can we accommodate?” he tweeted.