Global Depletion of Groundwater Resources: Past and Future Analyses

Monday, 15 December 2014: 2:10 PM
Marc FP Bierkens1, Inge E.M. de Graaf2, Ludovicus P Van Beek1 and Yoshihide Wada2, (1)Utrecht University, Department of Physcial Geography, Utrecht, Netherlands, (2)Utrecht University, Department of Physcial Geography, Utrecht, 3584, Netherlands
Globally, about 17% of the crops are irrigated, yet irrigation accounts for 40% of the global food production. As more than 40% of irrigation water comes from groundwater, groundwater abstraction rates are large and exceed natural recharge rates in many regions of the world, thus leading to groundwater depletion. In this paper we provide an overview of recent research on global groundwater depletion. We start with presenting various estimates of global groundwater depletion, both from flux based as well as volume based methods. We also present estimates of the contribution of non-renewable groundwater to irrigation water consumption and how this contribution developed during the last 50 years. Next, using a flux based method, we provide projections of groundwater depletion for the coming century under various socio-economic and climate scenarios. As groundwater depletion contributes to sea-level rise, we also provide estimates of this contribution from the past as well as for future scenarios. Finally, we show recent results of groundwater level changes and change in river flow as a result of global groundwater abstractions as obtained from a global groundwater flow model.