Environmental News from India:
- Studies on central Gangetic alluvial plains in Lucknow reveal that the city’s aquifers are unable to sustain extraction levels and may be disappearing permanently and rapidly.
- The exploitation of groundwater resources and unsustainable land use were highlighted as major causes for countless cases of sinking land, or land subsidence.
- Using remote sensing techniques, researchers found many regions to be sinking annually at a rate of up to four cm.
A recent study reveals that unsustainable urbanization is driving intense groundwater depletion in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. As the city’s population continues to rise (62% from 2001 to 2020), the immense pressure on irretrievable aquifers, accompanied by heavy land use, will adversely impact water security and land subsidence rates in the years to follow.
Apart from storing water, aquifers are crucial in providing support to the land above them. When the extraction of groundwater is far higher than the aquifer’s ability to replenish itself (as is the case in most of urban India), the land above may sink suddenly, or gradually over time – a phenomenon termed land subsidence. “Almost every Indian city is facing a water crisis and a threat of land subsidence,” says Vivek Grewal, a hydrogeologist who runs the Twitter microblog Groundwater Resources of India.
While the exploitation of groundwater across the country for agricultural use is a clear cause, scientists are realizing that rampant urbanization also aggravates the issue of land subsidence, especially in northern India. Moreover, weaker land threatens the foundation of infrastructure, thus posing severe hazards.
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