NEW DELHI: A study is being conducted at Jamia Millia Islamia University here to analyze the impact of urbanization on groundwater depletion in the two largest cities in the country—Delhi and Mumbai.
For this study at JMI, which is expected to be published by the end of the year, Shouraseni Sen Roy, a professor in the Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami, USA, has joined as Fulbright-Nehru Fellow. She is carrying out the study in collaboration with Professor Atiqur Rahman, Jamia Millia Islamia University.
In an earlier paper, Roy used data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites to analyze depletion in groundwater levels across India. The results showed the maximum depletion across the Indo-Gangetic basin in the northern plains. Based on this study, she received the fellowship to examine the relationship between urbanization and groundwater depletion.
In the proposed work, Roy and Rahman will use remote sensing satellite data, CGWB data, and geospatial analysis techniques for monitoring and modelling the state of groundwater with relation to urbanization in Delhi and Mumbai.
“Delhi has a huge shortage of water. There are plenty of illegal tubewells and borewells. Groundwater is being utilized at an unprecedented rate over the years with limited recharge. The groundwater table, which used to be at 20 feet in the late 20th century, is now down to 150 feet. It is becoming lower and lower,” she said.
In the case of a coastal city like Mumbai, she explained, the empty aquifers may get filled up with salt water. “In context with coastal cities, we don’t only talk about groundwater depletion but also sea-level rise and urban flooding.”