Delineation of groundwater recharge zones and identification of artificial recharge sites in West Medinipur district, West Bengal, using RS, GIS and MCDM techniques
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Artificial recharge plays a pivotal role in the sustainable management of groundwater resources. This study proposes a methodology to delineate artificial recharge zones as well as to identify favorable artificial recharge sites using integrated remote sensing (RS), geographical information system (GIS) and multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) techniques for augmenting groundwater resources in the West Medinipur district of West Bengal, India, which has been facing water shortage problems for the past few years. The thematic layers considered in this study are: geomorphology, geology, drainage density, slope and aquifer transmissivity, which were prepared using IRS-1D imagery and conventional data. Different themes and their corresponding features were assigned proper weights based on their relative contribution to groundwater recharge in the area, and normalized weights were computed using the Saaty’s analytic hierarchy process (AHP). These thematic layers were then integrated in the GIS environment to delineate artificial recharge zones in the study area. The artificial recharge map thus obtained divided the study area into three zones, viz., ‘suitable,’ ‘moderately suitable’ and ‘unsuitable’ according to their suitability for artificial groundwater recharge. It was found that about 46% of the study area falls under ‘suitable’ zone, whereas 43% falls under the ‘moderately suitable’ zone. The western portion of the study area was found to be unsuitable for artificial recharge. The artificial recharge zone map of the study area was found to be in agreement with the map of mean groundwater depths over the area. Furthermore, forty possible sites for artificial recharge were also identified using RS and GIS techniques. Based on the available field information, check dams are suggested as promising artificial recharge structures. The results of this study could be used to formulate an efficient groundwater management plan for the study area so as to ensure sustainable utilization of scarce groundwater resources.
KeywordsArtificial recharge zoning Artificial recharge sites Remote sensing GIS MCDM Water scarcity Groundwater management
The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to Soil Water Investigation Directorate (SWID), West Medinipur, West Bengal, India, for useful discussions and field data. The financial support to the first author from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany, is also gratefully acknowledged. Sincere thanks are also due to the four referees for their helpful comments and suggestions, which improved the quality of the manuscript.
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