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Delineation of groundwater development potential zones in parts of marginal Ganga Alluvial Plain in South Bihar, Eastern India


A part of the Gangetic Alluvial Plain covering 2,228 km2, in the state of Bihar, is studied for demarcating groundwater development potential zones. The area is mainly agrarian and experiencing intensive groundwater draft to the tune of 0.12 million cubic metre per square kilometres per year from the Quaternary marginal alluvial deposits, unconformably overlain northerly sloping Precambrian bedrock. Multiparametric data on groundwater comprising water level, hydraulic gradient (pre- and post-monsoon), aquifer thickness, permeability, suitability of groundwater for drinking and irrigation and groundwater resources vs. draft are spatially analysed and integrated on a Geographical Information System platform to generate thematic layers. By integrating these layers, three zones have been delineated based on groundwater development potential. It is inferred that about 48% of the area covering northern part has high development potential, while medium and low development potential category covers 41% of the area. Further increase in groundwater extraction is not recommended for an area of 173 km2, affected by over-exploitation. The replenishable groundwater resource available for further extraction has been estimated. The development potential enhances towards north with increase in thickness of sediments. Local deviations are due to variation of—(1) cummulative thickness of aquifers, (2) deeper water level resulting from localised heavy groundwater extraction and (3) aquifer permeability.

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Correspondence to Dipankar Saha.

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Saha, D., Dhar, Y.R. & Vittala, S.S. Delineation of groundwater development potential zones in parts of marginal Ganga Alluvial Plain in South Bihar, Eastern India. Environ Monit Assess 165, 179–191 (2010).

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  • Ganga Alluvial Plain
  • GIS
  • Replenishable resource
  • Groundwater management
  • Bihar