Groundwater reserves across Europe are starting to dry up.
That’s according to scientists who warn that since severe water shortages four years ago, groundwater levels have not shown a rise, remaining “constantly low.”
Published in the Geophysical Research Letters, the study claims that natural habitats and agriculture have been heavily affected by the water shortage – which was exacerbated by the extreme heatwave last summer.
The researchers have also revealed that this groundwater shortage had a contribution towards energy shortages – with less cooling water, nuclear power plants were unable to generate electricity in parts of the continent.
Hydroelectric power plants suffered a similar fate.
Satellite imagery was used to determine the impacts of drought over a prolonged period of time.
Explaining the process, Dr Torsten Mayer-Gürr from Graz University of Technology, said: “We have a distance measurement every five seconds and thus about half a million measurements per month. From this, we then determine gravity field maps.”
The findings revealed that the water situation on the continent was not in a good place and is not showing signs of recovering in the last few years.
Dr Mayer-Gürr continued: “A few years ago, I would never have imagined that water would be a problem here in Europe, especially in Germany or Austria. We are actually getting problems with the water supply here – we have to think about this.”