Global water supplies are ‘in distress’

More than a third of the world’s biggest aquifers, a vital source of fresh water for millions, are “in distress” because human activities are draining them, according to satellite observations.

Scientists from Nasa, the US space agency, and the University of California analysed 10 years of data from the twin Grace satellites, which measure changes in groundwater reserves by the way they affect Earth’s gravitational pull.

Jay Famiglietti, the study leader, said: “Twenty-one of the world’s 37 biggest aquifers have passed sustainability tipping points, they are being depleted. Over a third are so bad that they are experiencing exceptionally high levels of stress.”

The full NASA report can be accessed here.