Groundwater map. (Credit: Tom Gleeson, et al.)
An international team pooled its resources and came up with the first estimate of the world’s groundwater in nearly 50 years, according to a release from the University of Victoria. Multiple datasets from nearly a million watersheds as well as over 40,000 models were used in the study.
Data showed that young and old groundwater were different, with most young groundwater under 50 years of age occurring in tropical and mountainous regions. Young groundwater was found to be faster-moving and closer to the surface than old groundwater. Young groundwater was found to be more vulnerable to contaminants. Old groundwater was found to be more commonly used for agriculture, though some of it was so briny and stagnant it could be considered non-renewable.
It is expected that policy developers, hydrologists, water managers and others will be able to use the study’s data to make the use of groundwater more sustainable in the future.
Top image: Groundwater map. (Credit: Tom Gleeson, et al.)