Development of recharge and conservation site suitability model for groundwater retrieval and evaluation of artificial recharge potential in a complex hydro-geological spring-fed river basin
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In view of complex hydro-geological system and continuous groundwater depletion in mountainous region, there is an urgent need for replenishment groundwater sources in order to secure their long-term sustainability. The current study was aimed to develop a model that will efficiently suggest suitable sites in spring-fed Kosi watershed of Kumaun Himalayas for recharging groundwater. Factors affecting groundwater recharge were found to play a much more complex role in mountainous regions compared to plains due to diversified geological formations, lithological and chronological variations, and complex tectonic framework. In this study, behaviour of influencing factor in complex topographical region has been quantified independently as well as interdependently for identification of cumulative impact of these hydro-geological factors in recharging groundwater. A standard methodology was further developed to identify potential recharge sites by assigning intra-layer weightage and inter-layer score by quantifying the influence of each and every component influencing potential for groundwater recharge using integrated remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) technique. Study conducted in Bhatgaon micro-catchment of Kosi basin revealed that 24.1% area fall under the category having good to moderate recharge potential while 61.9% area have poor to moderate recharge potential, hence found less suitable for implementation of artificial recharge structures for conservation of groundwater. A GIS-based recharge and conservation site suitability (RCSS) model was developed with unique query-based codes that would guide for suitable sites in order to implement apposite groundwater augmentation measures for sustentation of Bhatgaon micro-catchment of Kosi basin. Furthermore, this kind of study is very helpful for groundwater managers to found best suitable site for implementing groundwater augmentation measures for long-term sustainability of natural groundwater sources in hilly terrain.
KeywordsMountain aquifer Recharge potential Hydro-geological factors Groundwater sustainability
Authors sincerely thank the Director, GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development (GBPNIHESD), Kosi-Katarmal for providing lab facility and field instruments for conducting various research activities. The guidance and support provided by Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari, Scientist-C, GBPNIHESD, is invaluable. The authors wish to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance provided by field assistants and other project staff.
The financial support provided by the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) program of Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MOEF&CC), New Delhi, for conducting this research is duly recognized.
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