By Mari N. Jenen | UA
Groundwater pumping in the last century has contributed as much as 50 percent to stream flow declines in some U.S. rivers, according to new research led by a University of Arizona hydrologist.
The new study has important implications for managing U.S. water resources. Laws regulating the use of groundwater and surface waters differ from state to state. Some Western states, Arizona among them, manage groundwater and surface water separately.
“We’re trying to figure out how that groundwater depletion has actually reshaped our hydrologic landscape,” said first author Laura Condon, a UA assistant professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences. “What does that mean for us, and what are the lasting impacts?”
Condon said this is the first study to look at the impact of past groundwater pumping across the entire U.S. Other researchers have examined how groundwater pumping affected surface waters, but at smaller scales.