New research shows a substantial decrease in the volume of groundwater reserves in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins. The New York Times published a report on Tuesday about the research carried out by NASA and the University of California, Irvine on the Middle Eastern river system. “Scientists… found during a seven-year period beginning in 2003 that parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates river basins lost 117 million acre feet (144 cubic kilometers) of total stored freshwater,” NASA and the University of California, Irvine said in a joint press release.
The researchers said about 60 percent of the loss is due to “pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs.”Jay Famiglietti, the principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at the University of California, Irvine, stated that the decline rate intensified especially after a drought in 2007. “The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws.” Around 1.2 billion people are affected by water scarcity in the world. NT/HGL