Lessons for Sustainable Urban Development: Interplay of Construction, Groundwater Withdrawal, and Land Subsidence at Battersea, London

Vivek Agarwal*, Amit Kumar, Zhengyuan Qin, Rachel Louise Gomes, Stuart Marsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The capacity of aquifers to store water and the stability of infrastructure can each be adversely influenced by variations in groundwater levels and subsequent land subsidence. Along the south bank of the River Thames, the Battersea neighbourhood of London is renovating a vast 42-acre (over 8 million sq ft) former industrial brownfield site to become host to a community of homes, shops, bars, restaurants, cafes, offices, and over 19 acres of public space. For this renovation, between 2016 and 2020, a significant number of bearing piles and secant wall piles, with diameters ranging from 450 mm to 2000 mm and depths of up to 60 m, were erected inside the Battersea Power Station. Additionally, there was considerable groundwater removal that caused the water level to drop by 2.55 ± 0.4 m/year between 2016 and 2020, as shown by Environment Agency data. The study reported here used Sentinel-1 C-band radar images and the persistent scatterer interferometric synthetic aperture radar (PSInSAR) methodology to analyse the associated land movement for Battersea, London, during this period. The average land subsidence was found to occur at the rate of −6.8 ± 1.6 mm/year, which was attributed to large groundwater withdrawals and underground pile construction for the renovation work. Thus, this study underscores the critical interdependence between civil engineering construction, groundwater management, and land subsidence. It emphasises the need for holistic planning and sustainable development practices to mitigate the adverse effects of construction on groundwater resources and land stability. By considering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations, particularly Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), city planners and stakeholders can proactively address these interrelated challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3798
Number of pages22
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume15
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2023

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