Is Georgetown sinking because of groundwater removal?

Dear Editor,

I refer to a letter in the Stabroek News of May 5, captioned ‘Scouring of foreshore from the earlier overtopping and severe wind caused the latest overtopping of the sea defences.’
While I am in agreement with all points raised in Mr Alli’s letter, I would ask the engineers from the Sea Defence department as well as experts from Lands and Surveys to comment on the possibility of Georgetown sinking due to groundwater removal by GWI.

There are many examples worldwide of cities sinking. Reproduced below are the contents of two articles that I have lifted from the Internet.

“Other regions of the world, such as New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States and Bangkok in Thailand are now subject to severe flooding due to subsidence associated with groundwater removal. Total settlement, and therefore the potential impacts of the settlement, can only be determined by surveys and GPS measurements.”

“Beijing has been sinking into the ground at an annual rate of about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in the past 20 years. The area east of Beijing has sunk by more than 70 centimeters (27.5 inches).

“In the southern and eastern suburbs of Bangkok, Thailand, about 1,000 square kilometers of land are sinking at a rate of 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) annually.”

Imagine the plight we would be in if in twenty years’ time our seawall is twelve inches lower!

And forget checking for settlement using the Georgetown Datum elevation on the lighthouse. This could be subsiding along with the rest of the city. I have been told that checks would have to be carried out in relation to sea levels or extremely accurate GPS measurements.

Yours faithfully,
Edward Gonsalves

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