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24 Jan 2011: New Water Resource Tool
Maps Ground Permeability Worldwide

Canadian researchers have produced a map illustrating the permeability of the porous surface rocks and sediments worldwide, a tool they say will emerge as a critical resource in water resource management and climate modeling. Using recent lithology results documenting rock types worldwide, scientists at the University of British Columbia were able to map how easily fluids should be able to flow at depths of more than 325 feet (100 meters). Earlier models achieved depths of only about 6 ½ feet (2 meters). “Using our permeability data and maps, we can now evaluate sustainable groundwater resources as well as the impact of groundwater on past, current and future climate at the global scale,” said Tom Gleeson, a researcher at UBC and lead author of the study published in Geophysical Research Letters. Groundwater accounts for about 99 percent of the fresh, unfrozen water on the planet.

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