Recent data processed from the GRACE satellites and a joint study from NASA and the University of California at Irvine have indicated that Grand County, through the course of the drought (and predominately since 2012) has depleted its ground water supply by 70-to-90 percent (relative to the avg. from 1948-2009). Basin-wide ground-water losses appear to account for 75 percent of depletion throughout this drought. Scientists have expressed that this is a “shocking” finding.

The GRACE satellites measure gravitational mass anomalies as they circle the earth. They can essentially weigh the amount of water in a region.

Up to this point it seems that the Grand County community has assumed that we haven’t yet come to the point of using more water than is being recharged. However, if this study is accurate we have been depleting our groundwater at alarming rates (and especially since 2012). This turns our concept of our ground-water health on its head.

This new information has been available for less than a week.

Chris Baird

Executive Director

Canyonlands Watershed Council