September 17, 2008

Iranians Deplete Aquifers, Land is Sinking

Researchers say increasing demand for groundwater in Iran is depleting that nation's water supplies, resulting in land surface deformations.

An international team of scientists said decades of unrestrained groundwater extraction are linked to land surface deformation on local and regional scales.

Combining water level data with satellite radar observations, the researchers led by Mahdi Motagh of the University of Tehran found aquifers are compacting across the country, resulting in their destruction, as evidenced by observations of groundwater basins in central and northeastern Iran.

"Comparing ground deformation in Iran with other basins around the world revealed that Iran currently hosts some of the fastest sinking valleys and plain aquifers in the world," the scientists said.

The research that included Jan Anderssohn, Thomas Walter and Jochen Zschau from the Geo Research Center in Potsdam, Germany; Eric Fieldking of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.; Mohammad Ali Sharifi of the University of Tehran; and Andreas Schenk of the Geodetic Institute at Germany's Karlsruhe University appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.