At a Glance Humans have drastically altered the global water landscape in profound way, the study finds.
We see it as a driver of climate change,” said Jay Famiglietti, a co-author of the research who is the senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Using NASA satellites and data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe, researchers found that there are several factors involved in the shifts, including water management practices, climate change and natural cycles.
At least 40 percent of 34 hotspots studied around the world can be linked to human water management activities, such as excessive groundwater pumping for farming.
Meanwhile, the shifts in eight regions can be linked to climate change, while the shifts in the remaining 12 regions can be linked to natural factors like cyclical weather patterns, the study found.