A new study indicates that groundwater pulled from aquifers for drinking water, irrigation, and other uses has a measurable effect on sea level rise.
The study published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that groundwater depletion has more than doubled in recent decades due to increased water demand. At the same time, fewer dams being built and the removal of older dams allows the groundwater to reach the ocean more quickly.
The researchers estimate that by 2050, groundwater depletion will contribute 0.87 mm annually to sea level, for a total of 31 mm between 2015 and 2050.
Beach photo via Shutterstock