Humanity is rapidly depleting a third of the world's largest groundwater aquifers, with the top three most stressed groundwater basins in the political hotspots of the Middle East, the border region between India and Pakistan, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa. Making matters worse, researchers say in a pair of new studies, we don't know how much water is left in these massive aquifers — which water resources scientists often refer to as Earth's water savings accounts. The studies come at a time when the worst drought on record since at least the 19th century is forcing California officials to curtail water use from even the politically powerful agricultural sector. Farmers in California's Central Valley are slurping up so much groundwater that the state is actually sinking by up to a foot per year in some spots.
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