Journal article

America's water: Agricultural water demands and the response of groundwater

M Ho, V Parthasarathy, E Etienne, TA Russo, N Devineni, U Lall



Agricultural, industrial, and urban water use in the conterminous United States (CONUS) is highly dependent on groundwater that is largely drawn from nonsurficial wells (>30 m). We use a Demand-Sensitive Drought Index to examine the impacts of agricultural water needs, driven by low precipitation, high agricultural water demand, or a combination of both, on the temporal variability of depth to groundwater across the CONUS. We characterize the relationship between changes in groundwater levels, agricultural water deficits relative to precipitation during the growing season, and winter precipitation. We find that declines in groundwater levels in the High Plains aquifer and around the Mississi..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by NSF

Awarded by Directorate For Geosciences

Funding Acknowledgements

This work is funded by an NSF project grant EAR-1360446. Varshini Parthasarathy was partially sponsored by the Columbia Engineering Internship Fund. We thank Mary Williams and Hui Wen for their help with the initial groundwater data collection and Adam Schempp and Laureline Josset for their helpful discussion on the work and feedback on the manuscript. Groundwater data described in this paper are available from the USGS website. The data used are listed in the reference list. The vDSDI may be obtained from Elius Etienne (