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Inspired by the theory of compressed sensing and employing random channel access, we propose a distributed energy-efficient sensor network scheme denoted by Random Access Compressed Sensing (RACS). The proposed scheme is suitable for long-term deployment of large underwater networks, in which saving energy and bandwidth is of crucial importance. During each frame, a randomly chosen subset of nodes participate in the sensing process, then share the channel using random access. Due to the nature of random access, packets may collide at the fusion center. To account for the packet loss that occurs due to collisions, the network design employs the concept of sufficient sensing probability. With this probability, sufficiently many data packets - as required for field reconstruction based on compressed sensing - are to be received. The RACS scheme prolongs network life-time while employing a simple and distributed scheme which eliminates the need for scheduling.