In water-stressed zones around the world, the unregulated or uncontrolled extraction of underground water can lead to the depletion of aquifers and generate subsidence of the ground surface. In urban areas this can also have a severe impact on buildings and infrastructure.

For authorities the identification, monitoring and prevention of these unregulated and often undetected extractions is challenging: vast areas to be monitored on one side and very localized extraction points to be found on the other.

Satellite InSAR monitoring is a tool that can tackle both of these aspects.

InSAR measures ground movement with millimeter precision from space. The satellites are operational 24/7, do not require sunlight, and penetrate cloud cover and rain. They can monitor thousands of square kilometers every few days and can rapidly detect the onset of subsidence bowls, delimit their boundaries and provide information on potential locations of the point source, with no need to install ground instrumentation.

Many examples already exist worldwide. With InSAR, Water Authorities have an effective tool to monitor subsidence, correlate the ground movement with water extraction volumes, estimate aquifer depletion and recharge rates aquifer and much more.

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