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Groundwater Depletion During Drought Threatens Future Water Security of the Colorado River BasinStreamflow of the Colorado River Basin is the most overallocated in the world. Recent assessment indicates that demand for this renewable resource will soon outstrip supply, suggesting that limited groundwater reserves will play an increasingly important role in meeting future water needs. Here we analyze 9 years (December 2004 to November 2013) of observations from the NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission and find that during this period of sustained drought, groundwater accounted for 50.1 cu km of the total 64.8 cu km of freshwater loss. The rapid rate of depletion of groundwater storage (5.6 +/- 0.4 cu km/yr) far exceeded the rate of depletion of Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Results indicate that groundwater may comprise a far greater fraction of Basin water use than previously recognized, in particular during drought, and that its disappearance may threaten the long-term ability to meet future allocations to the seven Basin states.
Document ID
20150023304
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Authors
Castle, Stephanie L. (California Univ. Irvine, CA, United States)
Thomas, Brian F. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Reager, John T. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Rodell, Matthew (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Swenson, Sean C. (National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO, United States)
Famiglietti, James S. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
December 18, 2015
Publication Date
August 29, 2014
Publication Information
Publication: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 41
Issue: 16
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN22379
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other
Keywords
water security
drought
groundwater