Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 25, Issue 3–4, pp 137–159 | Cite as

An Integrated Novel Approach to Understand the Process of Groundwater Recharge in Mountain and Riparian Zone Aquifer System of Tamil Nadu, India

  • Banajarani Panda
  • S. Chidambaram
  • K. Tirumalesh
  • N. Ganesh
  • C. Thivya
  • R. Thilagavathi
  • S. VenkatramananEmail author
  • M. V. Prasanna
  • N. Devaraj
  • A. L. Ramanathan
Original Article


The nature of groundwater recharge along the mountain front (MF) and riparian zone (RZ) was discerned by multiple tools involving rain/water level relationship, geophysical of subsurface, seasonal hydrochemistry and environmental isotopic signatures. The proposed study has been carried out in Courtallam Hills, the north-western part of Tirunelveli District, South India. The study area is a hilly terrain with narrow valleys endowed with steep slopes. The relationship between water-level fluctuation and precipitation were evaluated by observing daily water level in 8-h interval at three piezometer zones and regular rainfall data. It was inferred that the RZ played a role in storage zone and gets recharged from mountain block (MB) and lateral flow. The seasonal geochemistry of the groundwater was studied to determine the sources of recharge in MF and RZ. Geostatistical treatment of factor analysis revealed that weathering was the dominant recharge process along the foothill. The geophysical studies reveal good quality of groundwater observed in the northern part along with low conductance and high resistivity. The increased level of groundwater conductivity and lower resistivity was noted in southern part of the study area due to the irrigation activities. The isotopic tracers range from − 2.5 to − 12.6‰ for δ18O and from − 91.2 to − 15.5‰ for δ2H. Moreover, the groundwater recharge was evaluated by source of rainfall moisture. High-altitude recharge from MB along the MF was clearly indicated by depleted isotopic content of the water samples. It was also supported by hydrogeochemical and statistical evidences, showing that rainfall over both MB and MF zones provided the recharge to foothill aquifers, while the RZ zone was mainly recharged by local precipitation with less contribution from regional flows.


Groundwater recharge Geophysical subsurface Hydrochemistry Environmental isotopes Factor analysis 



The authors would like to thank the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), New Delhi (No: SB/S4/ES-699/2013) for providing necessary financial support to carry out this study, and the author Banajarani Panda wishes to express her sincere thanks to the Department of Science and Technology for providing the Inspire fellowship (No: DST/INSPIRE Fellowship/[IF150615], 27 October 2015).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10498_2019_9357_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)
10498_2019_9357_MOESM2_ESM.doc (76 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 76 kb)
10498_2019_9357_MOESM3_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Banajarani Panda
    • 1
    • 4
  • S. Chidambaram
    • 2
  • K. Tirumalesh
    • 3
  • N. Ganesh
    • 4
  • C. Thivya
    • 5
  • R. Thilagavathi
    • 4
  • S. Venkatramanan
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  • M. V. Prasanna
    • 8
  • N. Devaraj
    • 4
  • A. L. Ramanathan
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Water Research CentreKuwait Institute for Scientific ResearchSafatKuwait
  3. 3.Isotope Hydrology Section, Isotope and Radiation Application DivisionBARCMumbaiIndia
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesAnnamalai UniversityAnnamalai NagarIndia
  5. 5.School of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of MadrasChennaiIndia
  6. 6.Department for Management of Science and Technology DevelopmentTon Duc Thang UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  7. 7.Faculty of Applied SciencesTon Duc Thang UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  8. 8.Department of Applied Geology, Faculty of Engineering and ScienceCurtin University MalaysiaMiriMalaysia
  9. 9.School of Environmental SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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