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Satellites unveil the far-reaching impact of irrigation


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Rice fields, Mekong Delta

Globally, more than 70% of the freshwater withdrawn from Earth’s surface or from underground is used to irrigate crops. The need to produce more food for a growing population against the backdrop of climate change is challenging enough, but satellites reveal that extracting water doesn’t just affect the local environment – there are knock-on consequences for many aspects of the Earth system.

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