Researchers say groundwater levels declining due in part to farming

An international research team led by a US scientist has discovered that groundwater levels in some parts of the world are sharply declining.

The outcome of the research was published in the Wednesday edition of the science journal Nature.

The team analyzed groundwater level trends at 170,000 monitoring wells and 1,693 aquifer systems in over 40 countries.

It found that the groundwater levels have dropped by more than 10 centimeters per year since the beginning of the 21st century in 36 percent of the aquifer systems surveyed.

A decline of more than 50 centimeters a year was seen in about 12 percent of the systems. The trend was pronounced in farming areas that are located in regions where the climate is dry. The team suspects that heavy exploitation of groundwater for farming is contributing to the trend.

The team also found that there was an increase in groundwater levels by more than 10 centimeters in about 6 percent of the systems during the same period. It noted that various steps were taken to reduce groundwater withdrawals in those areas.

The team is calling for effective measures to address the issue of groundwater depletion, as the same quantities of water may not become available for use again after a significant water level drop.