27/06/2016 3:26 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST

Sinking Fast: Water-Stressed Beijing Dropping 11cm Every Year

And the problem's likely to get even worse.

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Beijing has a big problem - it's sinking.

China's capital city Beijing is in a bit of trouble. It's sinking. Literally.

The metropolis of more than 20 million people is dropping in some areas by as much as 11 centimetres each year, a new study shows.

The study, led by Beijing-based researchers, found the cause of the remarkable slide was a depletion of the city's groundwater, CNN reports.

The data was put together using GPS and satellite imagery. It concluded that some of the city's central zones were most at risk like the eastern suburb of Chaoyang where a lot of heavy development has taken place.

While the fresh news is out of Beijing, another 45 other cities across China are said also to be sinking due to the depletion of groundwater.

There have also been massive sinkholes that have opened up in various parts of the country due to mining, which in some cases have devoured whole villages.

The problem in Beijing only going to get worse, the researchers predicted.

With Beijing the fifth most water-stressed city globally, the pressure on its aquifers is likely to intesify, sending the city deeper into the ground.

That's because most of Beijing's water supply comes from underground and as it is extracted more aggressively it dries out the subterranean ground which compacts, sending the city lower.

Water use has been a hot topic throughout China where 5 years ago droughts in the south of the huge nation resulted in hardship for millions of people.

There have been massive infrastructure projects undertaken across the country in recent times in an attempt to deal with the problem and the government has previously allocated more than $300 billion to address it.