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2014-07-24. Satellite Study Reveals Parched U.S. West Using Up Underground Water.

posted Aug 25, 2014, 10:41 AM by Alan Gould

For GSS Ecosystem Change chapter 7. Excerpt: A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. ...the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years. The research team used data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission [ http://www.nasa.gov/grace and http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace] to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which are related to changes in water amount on and below the surface. ...the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (65 cubic kilometers) of freshwater, ...about 41 million acre feet (50 cubic kilometers) -- was from groundwater. ..."We don't know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don't know when we're going to run out," said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at the University of California, Irvine, and the study's lead author. "This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking."... http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/july/satellite-study-reveals-parched-us-west-using-up-underground-water/.  NASA RELEASE 14-200.