Groundwater modeling to understand the impact of pumping in the deep Late Pleistocene aquifers of the western Bengal Basin on arsenic migration

  • Pradip Kumar SikdarEmail author
  • Utsab Ghosal
  • Surajit Chakraborty
Original Paper


Numerical modeling of groundwater flow and particle tracking have been applied to assess whether deep pumping in a part of western Bengal Basin will transport arsenic (As) from the shallow paleo-channel (SPC) Holocene aquifer to the deep aquifer of Late Pleistocene age. Current pumping has shifted the groundwater recharge zones at variable depths closer to the pumping wells compared to no-pumping condition. Large irrigation and domestic withdrawals over more than 50 years from the deep aquifer (depth > 70 m bgl) have drawn down some As-polluted groundwater from SPC aquifer into the deep paleo-channel (DPC) Holocene aquifer but not into the deep aquifer. Therefore, As in Late Pleistocene groundwaters beneath DPC has originated locally and has not been transported from the overlying As-polluted SPC aquifer. To obtain As-free drinking water for a long-time, wells fitted with hand-pump can be constructed in Late Pleistocene paleo-interfluvial (PI) aquifer made of brown sands underlying a capping of the last glacial maximum paleosol and even below it in the gray sands. In the paleo-channel aquifer, wells fitted with hand-pump may be constructed at depths > 200 m to provide safe drinking water. Caution is needed regarding development of high-yielding irrigation or drinking water wells in the deep aquifer.


Bengal Basin Jamuna sub-basin Groundwater modeling Pumping impacts Arsenic migration 



The authors thank John M. McArthur of the University College London for his critical comments that helped in improving the paper. The authors also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments that improved the presentation of this work.

Funding information

The authors thank the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for funding this research through their grant SR/S4/ES-399/2009 to PKS


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pradip Kumar Sikdar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Utsab Ghosal
    • 1
  • Surajit Chakraborty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environment ManagementIndian Institute of Social Welfare and Business ManagementKolkataIndia

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