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Tracking hidden crisis in India's capital from space: implications of unsustainable groundwater use.

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Garg, Shagun 
Indu, J 


National Capital Region (NCR, Delhi) in India is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan cities which is facing a severe water crisis due to increasing water demand. The over-extraction of groundwater, particularly from its unconsolidated alluvial deposits makes the region prone to subsidence. In this study, we investigated the effects of plummeting groundwater levels on land surface elevations in Delhi NCR using Sentinel-1 datasets acquired during the years 2014-2020. Our analysis reveals two distinct subsidence features in the study area with rates exceeding 11 cm/year in Kapashera-an urban village near IGI airport Delhi, and 3 cm/year in Faridabad throughout the study period. The subsidence in these two areas are accelerating and follows the depleting groundwater trend. The third region, Dwarka shows a shift from subsidence to uplift during the years which can be attributed to the strict government policies to regulate groundwater use and incentivizing rainwater harvesting. Further analysis using a classified risk map based on hazard risk and vulnerability approach highlights an approximate area of 100 square kilometers to be subjected to the highest risk level of ground movement, demanding urgent attention. The findings of this study are highly relevant for government agencies to formulate new policies against the over-exploitation of groundwater and to facilitate a sustainable and resilient groundwater management system in Delhi NCR.


Funder: Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum - GFZ (4217)


Article, /704/4111, /704/844/685, article

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service) (91755005)