Tuesday January 30, 2024

San Francisco Chronicle

Californians are all-too-familiar with the hold water has on us. It keeps us alive and our farmland fertile, but its scarcity has plagued the state since long before climate change brought on longer droughts and sweltering days.
In a study published January 24 in the journal Nature, scientists produced the first global record of groundwater evolution over the last half-century. They found that water stores across the world are evaporating faster and faster, and that California is a global hotspot for groundwater decline. 

“I was curious how unprecedented the declines that we are observing in California’s San Joaquin Valley are at global scale,” says Scott Jasechko, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara who led the study.

But, there is some surprising good news in California as well.

Jasechko turned to “monitoring wells”, holes in the ground used to measure the subterranean water levels. He and his co-authors pored through dozens of regional databases to produce the first broad collection of measurements, comprising 170,000 wells in 40 countries, and spanning from 1980 to 2022.

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