At least eight urban areas in the world have encountered significant economic impact from land subsidence caused by pumping of ground water from unconsolidated sediment. The areas, most of which are coastal, include Bangkok, Houston, Mexico City, Osaka, San Jose, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Venice. Flooding related to decreased ground elevation is the principal adverse effect of the subsidence. Lesser effects include regional tilting, well-casing failures, "rising" buildings, and ground failure or rupture. Subsidence of most of these urban areas began before the phenomenon was discovered and understood. Thus, the subsidence problems were unanticipated. Methods to arrest subsidence typically have included control of ground water pumping and development of surface water to offset the reductions of ground water pumping. Ground water recharge has also been practiced. Areas threatened by flooding have been protected by extensive networks of dikes and sea walls, locks, and pumping stations to remove storm runoff. ?? 1985 D. Reidel Publishing Company.