Alert! Freshwater decline in India, says NASA Study
Availability of freshwater has declined in the northern and eastern parts of India, confirms a new study by NASA.
The study combined an array of NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe.
The study found that Earth’s wetland areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier due to a variety of factors, including human water management, climate change and natural cycles.
Areas in northern and eastern India, the Middle East, California and Australia are among the hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a serious decline in the availability of freshwater.
“This is the first time that we’ve used observations from multiple satellites in a thorough assessment of how freshwater availability is changing, everywhere on Earth,” said Matt Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, “A key goal was to distinguish shifts in terrestrial water storage caused by natural variability – wet periods and dry periods associated with El Nino and La Nina, for example – from trends related to climate change or human impacts, like pumping groundwater out of an aquifer faster than it is replenished,” Rodell added.
“What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change,” said co-author Jay Famiglietti of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
“We see a distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter – those are the high latitudes and the tropics – and the dry areas in between getting dryer. Embedded within the dry areas we see multiple hotspots resulting from groundwater depletion,” Famiglietti warned.