Cities around the world are sinking due to the increased occurrence of land subsidence. Kate Zerrenner of the Triple Pundit cited that, “19 percent of the world’s population, accounting for 21 percent of the world GDP, will be affected by land subsidence by 2040.” Not only are there environmental impacts of this issue, but health and economic ones as well. One city that is sinking at an accelerated rate is Bangkok, Thailand.

Issues in Bangkok

For the past 35 years, the city has relied on deep well pumping as a source for freshwater. Additionally, the city has a generally flat topography that sits on top of a clay aquitard. Each of these single factors has combined to exacerbate the existing problem. The subsidence reached its worst state in the 1980s when subsidence was at 120mm per year. As the city, and its population, grows, so does the amount of area that is being affected by subsidence.


The city has tried to cap the amount of groundwater pumping that is occurring, but despite the efforts being made, more than 2.0 million m3/day is being pulled up. As seen above, the subsidence is beginning to have issues on the infrastructure of the city and a threat its citizens.

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