Live Science | Elizabeth Howell
One-third of Earth’s largest groundwater basins are under threat because humans are draining so much water from them, according to two new studies. What’s more, researchers say they lack accurate data about how much water remains in these dwindling reservoirs.
The studies found that eight of the world’s 37 biggest aquifers are “overstressed,” meaning not enough water is replenished to offset the usage. Topping the list of overstressed aquifers is the Arabian Aquifer System, located beneath Yemen and Saudi Arabia, from which 60 million people draw their water.
“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? We’re trying to raise red flags now to pinpoint where active management today could protect future lives and livelihoods,” Alexandra Richey, a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, and lead author of both studies, said in a statement.