Application of vertical electrical sounding for groundwater exploration of Cape Coast municipality in the Central Region of Ghana

  • Evans ManuEmail author
  • William A. Agyekum
  • Anthony A. Duah
  • Ralph Tagoe
  • Kwasi Preko
Original Paper


The focus of this study is to delineate groundwater-bearing zones for the drilling of boreholes to ensure sustainable water supply in the Cape Coast municipality using the vertical electrical sounding (VES) technique. A total of 25 VES points were conducted of which thirteen (13) were test drilled. The VES survey was conducted using the ABEM SAS 1000 Terrameter with the Schlumberger configuration and a maximum half current electrode spacing (AB/2) of 100 m. The VES data were processed and interpreted using the ZONDIP resistivity inversion software. Both qualitative and quantitative interpretations were used to ascertain the best points for drilling a successful borehole (yield > 13 l per minute). The criteria used in selecting a promising site for test drilling are as follows: the nature of the curve (observing the nature of the VES curves), the overburden thickness and the bedrock resistivity. The study revealed a drilling success rate of 90% with an average borehole yield of 118 l/m. A careful review of the resistivity variation with depth revealed that areas with the increasing trend of resistivity from the overburden to the bedrock are most likely to produce unproductive wells whilst areas with decreasing resistivity trend from the overburden to the bedrock are more likely to produce productive wells. The reflection coefficient (Rc) values generally range between − 0.8274 and 0.1210 and suggest a highly fractured formation with respect to the Sekondian rocks. Within the granite, the Rc showed more competent formation with values ranging from 0.4040 to 0.6136. A comparison between the depth to bedrock as predicted by VES and the borehole logs was in strong agreement with the correlation coefficient value (R2 = 0.9089). On the other hand, the study revealed a relatively week correlation (R2 = 0.4325) between the final drilled depth and the borehole yield. The study also finds four major groundwater-bearing zones in the terrain which range between 12 and 28 m, 31 and 40 m, 43 and 59 m, and 80 and 104 m. The bedrock resistivity values most likely to yield productive boreholes with yields greater than 13 l/m range from 54 to 845 ohm-m with a decreasing resistivity between the overburden and the bedrock. Bedrock resistivities more than 900 Ωm with an increasing resistivity between the overburden and the bedrock are most likely to be unsuccessful. Within the terrain, the average depth for drilling productive wells in the Sekodian rocks is 68 m with the final borehole depth ranging from 35 to 120 m. The study therefore has demonstrated the efficacy of the VES technique as a tool in delineating groundwater potential zones for the drilling of boreholes.


Vertical electrical sounding Groundwater Sekondian rocks Borehole drilling Cape Coast Resistivity 



The authors would like to extend their profound gratitude to the Lord Almighty for His mercies and protection. We would also like to thank the Government of Ghana for supporting this intervention project and finally to the people of Cape Coast for their warm reception during the field work.


  1. Adeniji E, Obiora DN, Omonona OV, Ayuba R (2013) Geoelectrical evaluation of groundwater potentials of Bwari basement area, Central Nigeria. Int J Phys Sci 8(25):1350–1361Google Scholar
  2. Anechana R, Noye RM, Menyeh A, Manu E, Okrah C (2015) Electromagnetic and vertical electrical sounding for groundwater potential Assessment of Kintampo North Municipality of Ghana. J Environ Earth Sci. ISSN 2224-3216 (paper) ISSN 225-0948 5(12)Google Scholar
  3. Atobrah K (1980) Groundwater flow in the crystalline rocks of the Accra Plains, Ghana. Unpublished PH.D Thesis. Princeton University, Department of Geological and Geophysical SciencesGoogle Scholar
  4. Auken E, Christiansen AV (2004) Layered and laterally constrained 2D inversion of resistivity data. Geophysics 69:752–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banoeng-Yakubo BK (2000) The application of remote sensing and geographical information systems to hydrogeological studies in the Upper West Region, Ghana. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Geology Department, University of GhanaGoogle Scholar
  6. Bayewua OO, Oloruntolab MO, Mosuroa GO, Laniyana TA, Ariyoa SO, Fatobac JO (2018) Assessment of groundwater prospect and aquifer protective capacity using resistivity method in Olabisi Onabanjo University campus, Ago-Iwoye, Southwestern Nigeria. NRIAG J Astron GeophysGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhattacharya PK, Patra HP (1968) Direct current geoelectric sounding: principles and interpretation. Elsevier Science Publishing Co., Inc., AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  8. Bose RN, Ramkrishna TS (1978) Electrical resistivity surveys for ground water in the Deccan trap country of Sangli district, Maharashtra. J Hydrol 38:209–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chandra S, Nagaiah E, Reddy DV, Ananda Rao V, Ahmed S (2012) Exploring deep potential aquifer in water scarce crystalline rocks. J Earth Syst Sci 121(6):1455–1468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dapaah-Siakwan S, Gyau-Boakye P (2000) Hydrogeological framework and borehole yields in Ghana. Hydrogeol J 8:405–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Devi SP, Srinivasulu S, Raju KK (2001) Delineation of groundwater potential zones and electrical resistivity studies for groundwater exploration. Environ Geol 40:1252–1264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dickson KA, Benneh G (1995) A new geography of Ghana. Revised Edition, 2nd Edition. Longman Group UK Ltd., pp 17–29Google Scholar
  13. Ebraheem AM, Sherif MM, Al Mulla MM, Akram SF, Shetty AV (2012) A geoelectrical and hydrogeological study for the assessment of groundwater resources in WadiBih, UAE. Environ Earth Sci 67(3):845–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fon AN, Che VB, Cheo ES (2012) Application of electrical resistivity and chargeability data on a GIS platform in delineating auriferous structures in deeply weathered lateritic terrain, Eastern Cameroun. Int J Geosci 3:960–971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Francese R, Mazzarini F, Bistacchi ALP, Morelli G, Pasquare` G, Praticelli N, Robain H, Wardell N, Zaja A (2009) A structural and geophysical approach to the study of fractured aquifers in the Scansano-Magliano in Toscanaridge, southern Tuscany, Italy. Hydrogeol J 17:1233–1246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ghana Statistical Service (2013) 2010 Population and housing census: national analytical report. Ghana Statistical Service, AccraGoogle Scholar
  17. Hamzah U, Samudin AR, Malim EP (2007) Groundwater investigation in Kuala Selangor using vertical electric sounding (VES) surveys. Environ Geol 51:1349–1359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keary P, Brooks M (1984) An introduction to geophysical exploration. Blackwell Scientific Publications. 196 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Kesse GO (1985) The mineral and rock resources of Ghana. A.A.Balkema, RotterdamGoogle Scholar
  20. Kumar D, Rao VA, Nagaiah E, Raju PK, Mallesh D, Ahmeduddin M, Ahmed S (2010) Integrated geophysical study to decipher potential groundwater and zeolite-bearing zones in Deccan Traps. CurrSci 98(6):803–814Google Scholar
  21. Kumar D, Rao VA, Sarma VS (2014) Hydrogeological and geophysical study for deeper groundwater resource in quarzitic hard rock ridge region from 2D resistivity data. J Earth Syst Sci 123(3):531–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Loke MH (1999) Time-lapse resistivity imaging inversion. Proceedings of the 5th Meeting of the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society European Section, Em1Google Scholar
  23. Manu E, Agyekum WA, Duah AA, Mainoo PA, Okrah C, Asare VS (2016) Improving Access to Potable Water Supply using Integrated Geophysical Approach in a Rural Setting of Eastern Ghana. Elixir Environ. & Forestry 95:40714-40719Google Scholar
  24. Naziya Jamal, Singh NP (2018) Identification of fracture zones for groundwater exploration using very low frequency electromagnetic (VLF-EM) and electrical resistivity (ER) methods in hard rock area of Sangod Block, Kota District, Rajasthan, India. Groundwater of Sustainable Development 7:195–203Google Scholar
  25. Obiora DN, Ibuot JC, George NJ (2016) Evaluation of aquifer potential, geoelectric and hydraulic parameters in Ezza North, southeastern Nigeria, using geoelectric sounding. Int J Environ Sci Technol 13:435–444. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ochuko Anomohanra (2013) Investigation of groundwater potential in some selected towns in Delta North district of Nigeria. Int J Appl Sci Technol 3:6Google Scholar
  27. Ogungbe AS, Onori EO, Olaoye MA (2012) Application of electrical resistivity techniques in the investigation of groundwater contamination. A case study of ille-Epo Dumpsite, Lagos, Nigeria. Int J Geomatic Geosci 3(1)Google Scholar
  28. Okrah C, Danuor SK, Dapaah-Siakwan S (2012) Groundwater exploration in granitic rock formation of Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abirem district using integrated geophysical techniques. J Ghana Sci Assoc 14(2):56–72Google Scholar
  29. Olayinka AI, Abimbola AF, Isibor RA, Rafiu AR (1999) A geoelectrical-hydrogeochemical investigation of shallow groundwater occurrence in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria. Environ Geol 37(1–2):31–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Olurunfemi MO, Idoringie AI, Coker AT, Babadiya GE (2004) The application of electrical resistivity method in foundation failure investigation. Glob J Geol Serv 2:39–51Google Scholar
  31. Owen RJ, Gwavava O, Gwaze P (2005) Multi-electrode resistivity survey for groundwater exploration in the Harare greenstone belt, Zimbabwe. Hydrogeol J 14:244–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Perrone A, Iaanuzzi A, Lapenna V, Lorenzo P, Piscitelli S, Rizzo E, Sdao F (2004) High resolution electrical imaging of the Varcod’zzo earth flow (Southern Italy). J Appl Geophys 56:17–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ratna Kumari Y, Rai SN, Thiagarajan S, Kumar D (2012) 2D electrical resistivity imaging for delineation of deeper aquifers in parts of Chandrabhaga river basin, Nagpur district, Maharashtra, India. CurrSci 102(1):61–69Google Scholar
  34. Sainato C, Galindo G, Pomposiello C, Malleville H, de Abelleyra D, Lossino B (2003) Electrical conductivity and depth of groundwater at the Pergamino zone (Buenos Aires Province, Argentina) through vertical electrical sounding and geostatistical analysis. J S Am Earth Sci 161:177–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sharma PV (1997) Environmental and engineering geophysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp 28, 231, 265–269, 280–296Google Scholar
  36. Sharma SP, Branwal VC (2005) Delineation of groundwater-bearing fracture zones in hard rock area integrating very low frequency electromagnetic and resistivity data. J Appl Geophys 57:155–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sherif M, El Mahmoudi A, Garamoon H, Shetty A (2006) Geoelectrical and hyrogeochemical studies for delineating seawater intrusion in the outlet of Wad, Ham, UAE. Environ Geol 49:536–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sikah JN, Aning AA, Danuor SK, Manu E, Okrah C (2016) Groundwater Exploration using 1D and 2D Electrical Resistivity Methods. J Environ Earth Sci ISSN 2224-3216 (Paper) ISSN 2225-0948 (Online) Vol.6, No.7, 2016
  39. Singh KKK, Singh AKS, Singh KB, Sinha A (2006) 2D resistivity imaging survey for sitting water-supply tube well in metamorphic terrains: a case study of CMRI campus, Dhanbad, India. Lead Edge 25:1458–1460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Store H, Storz W, Jacobs F (2000) Electrical resistivity tomography to investigate geological structures of Earth’s upper crust. Geophys Prospect 48:455–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. UN General Assembly (2015) Transforming our world 2015: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, A/RES/70/1, available at: Accessed 12 Oct 2018
  42. Urish DW, Frohlich RK (1990) Surface electrical resistivity in coastal groundwater exploration. Geoexploration 26:267–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yadaz GS, Singh SK (2007) Integrated resistivity surveys for delineation of fractures for ground water exploration in hard rock area. J Appl Geophys 62(3):301–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yidana SM, Ophori D, Banoeng-Yakubo B (2008) Hydrogeological and Hydrochemical characterization of the Voltaian Basin: the Afram Plains area, Ghana. Environ Geol 53:1213–1223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zaidi FK, Kassem OMK (2012) Use of electrical resistivity tomography in delineating zones of groundwater potential in arid regions; a case study from Diriyah region of Saudi Arabia. Arab J Geosci 5:327–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. ZONDIP (2001-2012) User manual program for one dimensional interpretation of data obtained by VES and VES-IP (ground and marine measurement). Zond Geophysical software Saint PetersburgGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evans Manu
    • 1
    Email author
  • William A. Agyekum
    • 1
  • Anthony A. Duah
    • 1
  • Ralph Tagoe
    • 1
  • Kwasi Preko
    • 2
  1. 1.Water Research InstituteCouncil for Scientific and Industrial ResearchAccraGhana
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana

Personalised recommendations