Journal of the Geological Society of India

, Volume 82, Issue 6, pp 657–665 | Cite as

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) by the construction of subsurface dams in the semi-arid regions: A case study of the Kalangi river basin, Andhra Pradesh

  • N. Janardhana Raju
  • T. V. K. Reddy
  • P. Muniratnam
  • Wolfgang Gossel
  • Peter Wycisk
Research Article


Overuse of groundwater in coastal areas, due to high population and agricultural activity results in seawater intrusion into the coastal aquifer. This paper presents the control measures taken to manage aquifer recharge (MAR) and also to overcome the problem of seawater intrusion into the coastal aquifer along the Kalangi river, Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, India having connectivity with Pulicat (saltwater) lake estuary. Due to overexploitation of groundwater and less rainfall in past years, adjacent seawater has started intruding in the Kalangi river sub-surface and deteriorating groundwater quality up to 11.6 km from the confluence of the river with Pulicat lake. To prevent this situtation, subsurface dams were constructed in traditional manner using local earth material in three different places across the Kalangi river near Sullurpet town. The water storage capacities calculated after the sub-surface dams’ construction are 1.28 mcft at GK Engineering College, 6.23 mcft at Challamagudi and 3.143 mcft at Holy Cross School sites.

The Holy Cross School sub-surface dam is the first full scale dam-cum-check dam constructed to prevent salt water intrusion in the Kalangi river at Sullurpet, Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. At the Kalangi river estuary portion (at the mouth of sea) a groyne was reconstructed over old groyne site with the introduction of clay bed and wooden sheet piles at down stream. Apart from prevention of sea water entry into Kalangi river sub-surface (during seasons) the groyne top level was raised to prevent mixing of high sea water tides with fresh water and ensuring additional storage of fresh water at upstream side. The reconstructed groyne was serving the purpose of obstructing the surface seawater entry in the Kalangi river and water quality has improved in the river as well as in the wells. After construction of sub-surface dam, as per the Simpson ratio classification, there is substantial improvement of water quality in the SHAR infiltration well situated near the Holy Cross School sub-surface dam.


Saltwater intrusion Sub-surface dams Groundwater Rainwater harvesting Kalangi river Andhra Pradesh 


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Copyright information

© Geological Society of India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Janardhana Raju
    • 1
  • T. V. K. Reddy
    • 2
  • P. Muniratnam
    • 3
  • Wolfgang Gossel
    • 4
  • Peter Wycisk
    • 4
  1. 1.Jawaharlal Nehru University New DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of GeologyS.V. UniversityTirupatiIndia
  3. 3.Technical ConsultantTirupatiIndia
  4. 4.Institute for GeosciencesMartin Luther UniversityHalle (Saale)Germany

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