Groundwater storage change detection from in situ and GRACE-based estimates in major river basins across India

India has been the subject of many recent groundwater studies due to the rapid depletion of groundwater in large parts of the country. However, few if any of these studies have examined groundwater storage conditions in all of India’s river basins individually. Herein we assess groundwater storage changes in all 22 of India’s major river basins using in situ data from 3420 observation locations for the period 2003–2014. One-month and 12-month standardized precipitation index measures (SPI-1 and SPI-12) indicate fluctuations in the long-term pattern. The Ganges and Brahmaputra basins experienced long-term decreasing trends in precipitation in both 1961–2014 and the study period, 2003–2014. Indeterminate or increasing precipitation trends occurred in other basins. Satellite-based and in situ groundwater storage time series exhibited similar patterns, with increases in most of the basins. However, diminishing groundwater storage (at rates of >0.4 km3/year) was revealed in the Ganges-Brahmaputra River Basin based on in situ observations, which is particularly important due to its agricultural productivity.