Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 317–320 | Cite as

Groundwater depletion: A global problem

  • Leonard F. KonikowEmail author
  • Eloise Kendy


In the past half-century, ready access to pumped wells has ushered in a worldwide “explosion” of groundwater development for municipal, industrial, and agricultural supplies. Globally, groundwater withdrawals total 750–800 km3/year (Shah et al. 2000). Economic gains from groundwater use have been dramatic. However, in many places, groundwater reserves have been depleted to the extent that well yields have decreased, pumping costs have risen, water quality has deteriorated, aquatic ecosystems have been damaged, and land has irreversibly subsided.

Groundwater depletion is the inevitable and natural consequence of withdrawing water from an aquifer. Theis (1940) showed that pumpage is initially derived from removal of water in storage, but over time is increasingly derived from decreased discharge and/or increased recharge. When a new equilibrium is reached, no additional water is removed from storage. In cases of fossil or compacting aquifers, where recharge is either...


Over-abstraction Groundwater managment Groundwater development Groundwater depletion 



We appreciate the helpful review comments by W.M. Alley and S.A. Leake (U.S. Geological Survey), T.S. Steenhuis (Cornell University), Tushaar Shah (International Water Management Institute), and M.E. Campana (University of New Mexico)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey431 National CenterRestonUSA
  2. 2.Kendy Hydrologic ConsultingHelenaUSA

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