NASA Satellite Highlights India Groundwater Loss
NASA scientists used a pair of tandem orbiting satellites called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, to get a read on how quickly the groundwater is disappearing under northern India
's heavily irrigated fields of wheat, rice, and barley.
The findings, reported in August in the journal Nature
, show that 26 cubic miles (109 cubic kilometers) vanished between 2002 and 2008. The discovery suggests that current water use rates are unsustainable and, if continued, will eventually impact the nation's food supply, said Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project.
"We are already beginning to see this happen in parts of India where wells have already been taken out of production because it has either gotten too expensive to pump the water from deeper down or the wells are just too salty or dry," she said.
Photograph by Anupam Nath, AP