Characterization of regional land subsidence induced by groundwater withdrawals in Tehran, Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Engineering Geology Division, Department of Geology, Faculty of Basic Science, Tarbiat Modares University

2 Research Institute for Earth Sciences, Geological Survey of Iran (GSI)


Generally, alluvial basins of arid and semiarid zones are the places with excessive groundwater withdrawal, and also they have a high potential for land subsidence. Excessive groundwater withdrawals have caused severe land subsidence in Tehran, Iran. At present, the maximum land subsidence rate is 36 cm/year, covering an area of nearly 530 km2. In the 2000s, as a result of economic and population
growth, the area of groundwater withdrawals expanded to both the west and the east. Over the past 28 years, groundwater level has decreased 11.65 m. As a result, the impacts of land subsidence, such as major drop in groundwater level, damage and tilting of buildings and civil structures, and rupture of well casings, have increased in the southwest of Tehran. In accordance with the field and laboratory data, we have constructed a new conceptual model for alluvial basin recognition of the study area. This model describes
various hydro-geological units according to their physical properties. Based on this model, a multi-layered aquifer system in southwest plain of Tehran includes three aquifer units and three aquitard units.