Speed Reads

This is not good

NASA discovers the world's aquifers are running out of water

No one really knows the state of one of the world's most vital sources of fresh water, but NASA now has a guess — and it's not good news.

Over half of the world's aquifers — underground reservoirs that provide the water used by 35 percent of humanity — have been draining faster than they've been replenishing, a new study by the space agency has concluded. By tracking the slightest movements in Earth's gravitational pull over a decade, the NASA satellite GRACE was able to estimate the changes. It found that 21 of the world's 37 largest groundwater sources have already reached their sustainability tipping point; researchers believe agriculture, heavy industry, and population growth are to blame.

The study — the first ever to take such a comprehensive look at the issue — was published Tuesday in the journal Water Resources Research.

“The situation is quite critical,” said Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA told The Washington Post.