GRACE Water Aquifer Stress Levels

Quantifying Renewable Groundwater Stress with GRACE

Alexandra S. Richey, Brian F. Thomas, Min-Hui Lo, John T. Reager, James S. Famiglietti, Katalyn Voss, Sean Swenson, Matthew Rodell
Published June 16 2015 in Water Resources Research

Full Study


“Groundwater is an increasingly important water supply source globally. Understanding the amount of groundwater used versus the volume available is crucial to evaluate future water availability. We present a groundwater stress assessment to quantify the relationship between groundwater use and availability in the world’s 37 largest aquifer systems. We quantify stress according to a ratio of groundwater use to availability, which we call the Renewable Groundwater Stress ratio. The impact of quantifying groundwater use based on nationally reported groundwater withdrawal statistics is compared to a novel approach to quantify use based on remote sensing observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission. Four characteristic stress regimes are defined: Overstressed, Variable Stress, Human-dominated Stress, and Unstressed.”

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Published on: June 27, 2015

Filled Under: Reports & Studies, Reposted Articles, Water

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