Water storage depletion is a worsening hydrological problem that limits agricultural production in especially arid/semi-arid regions across the globe. Quantifying water storage dynamics is critical for developing water resources management strategies that are sustainable and protective of the environment. This study uses GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), GLDAS (Global Land Data Assimilation System) and measured groundwater data products to quantify water storage in Western Jilin (a proxy for semi-arid wetland ecosystems) for the period from January 2002 to December 2009. Uncertainty/bias analysis shows that the data products have an average error <10% (p < 0.05). Comparisons of the storage variables show favorable agreements at various temporal cycles, with R2 = 0.92 and RMSE = 7.43 mm at the average seasonal cycle. There is a narrowing soil moisture storage change, a widening groundwater storage loss, and an overall storage depletion of 0.85 mm/month in the region. There is possible soil-pore collapse, and land subsidence due to storage depletion in the study area. Invariably, storage depletion in this semi-arid region could have negative implications for agriculture, valuable/fragile wetland ecosystems and people's livelihoods. For sustainable restoration and preservation of wetland ecosystems in the region, it is critical to develop water resources management strategies that limit groundwater extraction rate to that of recharge rate.

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