Satellite System Flags Stressed Aquifers

Source: WonkBlog

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  1. Iamthe50percent commented on Jun 24

    Well these storms seem to be refilling Texas.

  2. reedsch commented on Jun 25

    Wow, they can measure the gravitational pull of the water in the ground?


    And good to see the Ogallala aquifer nudge into the positive. Lord knows there’s been enough rain in Colorado so far this summer, everything is so green! (no pun intended, legalization fans)

    • rj chicago commented on Jun 25

      Agree –
      Having grown up there in the Denver area the Ogallala was being depleted pretty quickly especially during the last two drought cycles.
      Diversions from the hills into reservoirs has helped me thinks.
      DWB though derided has been doing a decent job of keeping up with demand.
      Colorado in pretty good shape –
      Cali and AZ not so much.

  3. bear_in_mind commented on Jun 27

    The groundwater we humans have been extracting four our modern usage amassed over tens and hundreds of thousands of years. Thus, these aquifers don’t just “refill” like a barrel or a tanker truck.

    Depending on the geological make-up, some nearer the surface can recharge over a period of years. But we’re drilling ever deeper, and we’re not giving sufficient time for water to gradually drain through soil strata to the massive chambers below which formed over millenia.

    Look at the articles below to get a sense of how grave the situation is becoming, especially in California’s Central Valley. This is hundreds-mile long flood plain which has recharged an equally huge aquifer underneath, but over the last 75 years, agriculture has begun aggressively draining this “free” natural resource with little regard to long-term consequences.

    This has caused subsidence which refers to a reduction of surface elevation resulting from the aquifers underneath shrinking. Think about the amount of underground water it’d take for 1000’s of square miles to drop a hundred feet or more. Now, take the weight of the Earth’s surface soil and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp how that would compact the soils below, permanently altering the holding capacity of these aquifers and you begin to see the gravity of the situation. And this isn’t even bringing the effect of fracking into the conversation…

    USGS: Largest human alteration of the Earth’s surface
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    San Joaquin Valley sinking as farmers race to tap aquifer
    San Jose Mercury News

    Even scarier than California’s shrinking reservoirs is its shrinking groundwater supply
    PBS News Hour

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