The unfolding catastrophe of California’s now four year-old drought and the depletion of its aquifers is not just a crisis for the state and the region surrounding it; it’s part of a global pattern of groundwater loss that NASA has been tracking for years. Jay Famiglietti, Senior Water Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and author of a now-famous Los Angeles Times op-ed on the drought, has seen this global groundwater deficit firsthand. Through a pair of satellites called GRACE, Famiglietti has measured the draining of the world’s aquifers in places like India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and California. As climate change persists and the planet’s arid and semi-arid regions become even drier, we can expect this global phenomenon to become even more acute, with a whole host of perilous consequences: violent conflict, seismic activity, stream depletion, sinking land surfaces, and the monopolization of water by those with financial means.