Groundwater reserves drying up across Europe; continent “on the verge” of “catastrophic drought”
By Ethan Huff // Jan 31, 2023

Scientists are warning that catastrophic drought conditions across Europe threaten to dry up groundwater reserves.

Surface water levels have remained relatively stable since 2018 up until recently when persistent heatwaves and lack of rain started causing them to drop. This puts Europe on the edge of a water disaster, says Dr. Torsten Mayer-Gürr, a professor at Graz University of Technology, Austria, who recently published a paper on the subject.

"A few years ago, I would never have imagined that water would be a problem here in Europe," Mayer-Gürr said.

For the first time ever, the United Kingdom's annual average temperature topped 10C (50F). And last year was the warmest year on record for the UK, which some say is a factor of "global warming" and "climate change."

(Related: The risk of worldwide famine is increasing as Europe struggles through 500-year drought conditions.)

Lack of cooling water at nuclear power plants worsening Europe's energy crisis

In 2018 and 2019, there was a water shortage in central Europe that caused groundwater levels to stagnate. Recently those water levels have begun to drop due to persistent lack of rain.

Natural habitats are struggling to survive, as are farms growing food crops for the European population. The drought is also being blamed for "major energy shortages" across Europe, which are actually the fault of Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Last summer, water levels on the Rhine River had dropped dramatically in some areas. Other riverbeds across Europe similarly ran dry and caused habitat loss for a variety of aquatic species.

There have also been massive forest and grass fires across Europe and in the UK over the past several years.

Nuclear power plant cooling water is likewise in short supply due to lack of rain, which is further impacting Europe's ability to produce enough energy for itself amid the crisis in Ukraine.

"The processing and the computational effort here are quite large," Mayer-Gürr explained about how he made his groundwater level calculations using satellite gravimetry, a specialized method of measuring groundwater resources and documenting any changes.

Using twin satellites called Tom and Jerry, mass changes in rivers and lakes were subtracted from total mass, as were snow and ice mass changes. This allows for a precise measurement of groundwater changes over time.

"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. 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."

In the comments, someone pointed out that another reason for Europe's water woes is misuse and waste by water companies over many, many years.

"Extracting water from rivers and natural aquifers instead of plugging massive leaks in pipes," this person wrote. "They are happy to pay 100s of millions to shareholders and overpay CEOs but don't give a damn about pollution. On the other side, water is too cheap and wasted by the population. Easy problem to solve but attitudes must change."

Others questioned the legitimacy of these drought claims, including one person who wrote that the reservoir in Surrey where he lives is currently "100% full and the ground water is 2.4 metres above average."

"The population has exploded due to immigration in this area so greater demand," this same individual added as a possible other cause of these water woes.

Without water, food crops will wither away and people will die. To keep up with the latest, visit

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