The Republic of Indonesia stated that it would have to move its capital city, partly due to its rapid rate of sinking into the Java Sea. According to the World Economic Forum, Jakarta is among some the quickest sinking cities around the globe as a result of elevating sea levels and groundwater over-extraction. But it’s not the only city faced with this challenge.
For several decades, Houston – the most populated city in Texas – has also been sinking because of groundwater over-extraction. Data from the United States Geological Survey revealed that since the 1920s, sections of Harris County have dropped by around 10 to 12 feet (roughly 3 meters), and some parts continue to sink by up to 2 inches (5cm) annually.
Authorities attempted to solve the problem by establishing a specifically designed district made to manage groundwater extraction in 1975. The issue didn’t go away though, as privately owned wells and water suppliers were still withdrawing from the ground.
The city of Lagos in Nigeria is situated partially on the coast as well as the mainland. This location means Lagos is particularly vulnerable to flooding, as its coastline continues to wash away due to global warming. In fact, its coastline is so low that an increased sea level of between 3 to 9 feet (around 1 to 3 meters) would create a disastrous outcome for the human way of life in that area.
New Orleans and Beijing are also sinking caused by diminishing groundwater.
The United States capital, Washington, is also sinking. However, it’s not a result of aquifers or elevating sea levels. A mile-high sheet of ice shifted the land underneath Chesapeake Bay, and when the ice melted away several millennia ago, the land resettled. Researchers assume that the region is now slowly dropping as result of this. Though sea levels are also increasing at Chesapeake Bay, which may exacerbate the situation even further.