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Study Highlights Changes to Surface Water Supplies


From editor:

We know it’s happening, but now we can see it.  Google Earth and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre teamed up to reveal how the world’s surface water has changed over the last 30 years.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture…

An interesting study related to surface water was just published in the journal Nature. The study, conducted by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre with assistance from Google, set out to describe in detail how the Earth’s supply of surface water has changed over the last three decades.

The researchers looked at all the available satellite imagery, over three million pictures of the planet, taken since 1984. Then, using Google Earth, they created a series of time-lapse maps that show in detail how our planet’s surface water supply has changed over time. The study showed some pretty alarming things, including:

  • 52% of the world’s permanent surface water is found in North America. Only 9% is found in Asia.
  • 90,000 km2 of permanent surface water has been lost. Five countries account for most of that loss – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • The western United States has lost 6000 km2 of surface water.
  • Many of the new bodies of surface water found on the images are dam headponds and glacier meltwater lakes.

While the study didn’t address the causes behind the changes to surface water reservoirs, it certainly highlighted the vulnerability of the world’s water supply.

At LuminUltra we take seriously our role in helping you safeguard the water systems for which you are responsible. The need for clean water is universal and our products and knowhow contribute to public safety and the efficient use of our most precious resource.


LuminUltra Team

Founded in 1995, LuminUltra is a global leader in applied molecular biology diagnostics, with solutions and services that deliver accurate and actionable feedback in bioprocessing, biofouling, and biosecurity applications. With operations in six countries, LuminUltra serves dozens of Fortune 500 customers across more than 100 countries. At the same time, LuminUltra fosters a culture of innovation and agility, working tirelessly to deliver more value to customers. In recent years it has been on an accelerated growth path, acquiring multiple companies after forming a partnership with XPV Water Partners.  

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