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The groundwater level in north India has been declining at a rate of 2 cm per year during the period 2002-2013, while in north-central and south India, it has increased by 1-2 cm per year during the same period.
The usage of groundwater for irrigation purposes accounts for groundwater variability in northwest India.
A 2009 study carried out in Punjab and Haryana showed that groundwater extraction was mainly responsible for declining groundwater storage. But this study shows that changes in groundwater storage are linked to changes in rainfall pattern in most parts of India.
Reduced monsoon rainfall in north India due to Indian Ocean warming has led to lower groundwater storage & more usage of groundwater for irrigation.
For instance, over Gangetic Plain and north India monsoon rainfall has been declining since 1950, leading to reduced recharge of groundwater.
As a result of declining monsoon rainfall & intensive agriculture, ground water withdrawals in the country have increased over tenfold since the 1950s — from 10-20 cubic km per year in 1950, to 240-260 cubic km per year in 2009.