Thursday, August 20, 2009

Groundwater depleting rapidly in North India

From Science (subscription required):
Farming is a thirsty business on the Indian subcontinent. But how thirsty, exactly? Satellite remote sensing of a 2000-kilometer swath running from eastern Pakistan across northern India and into Bangladesh has for the first time put a solid number on how quickly the region is depleting its groundwater. The number "is big," says hydrologist James Famiglietti of the University of California, Irvine—big as in 54 cubic kilometers of groundwater lost per year from the world's most intensively irrigated region hosting 600 million people. "I don't think anybody knew how quickly it was being depleted over that large an area," Famiglietti says.

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