Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 419–451 | Cite as

Modeling Groundwater Depletion at Regional and Global Scales: Present State and Future Prospects

  • Yoshihide Wada


Except for frozen water in ice and glaciers, groundwater is the world’s largest distributed store of freshwater and has strategic importance to global food and water security. In this paper, the most recent advances quantifying groundwater depletion (GWD) are comprehensively reviewed. This paper critically evaluates the recently advanced modeling approaches estimating GWD at regional and global scales, and the evidence of feedbacks to the Earth system including sea-level rise associated with GWD. Finally, critical challenges and opportunities in the use of groundwater are identified for the adaption to growing food demand and uncertain climate.


Groundwater depletion (GWD) Climate variability Socioeconomic development Water scarcity Sustainability Projections 



The International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland, and specifically Anny Cazenave and Nicolas Champollion, and acknowledged for hosting the ISSI Workshop on Remote Sensing and Water Resources. I wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive and thoughtful suggestions, which substantially helped to improve the quality of the manuscript. Y. Wada is supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Overseas Research Fellowship (Grant No. JSPS-2014-878).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Goddard Institute for Space StudiesNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Center for Climate Systems ResearchColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of GeosciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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