Chennai

Airborne survey to map aquifers

As part of furthering its efforts to manage groundwater resources, the Water Resources Department (WRD) proposes to launch airborne surveys to map shallow and deep aquifers, an underground layer of water-bearing rocks, in the city.

This will mean a big leap forward in data collection for judicious management of ground and surface water resources. The survey that is to be funded by the World Bank will be conducted through a helicopter fitted with electro-magnetic equipment to learn about the aspects of various types of aquifers.

The aquifer mapping of a few districts, including Cuddalore and Tiruvallur, is already underway with the assistance of the Central government and the State government plans to cover over 20 districts under the third phase of Hydrology Project.

Officials of the State Ground and Surface Water Resources Data Centre of WRD said, at present, the department has data on aquifers up to a depth of 300 m beneath the ground level. But, the heliborne survey would help get data about subsurface formations up to a depth of 700 metres.

“This will help understand groundwater availability, the vulnerable areas, plan water distribution to various users and also develop strategies for recharge,” said an official.

The mapping will be done as part of the Rs.500-crore Hydrology Project-III expected to be implemented in six months.

The eight-year-long project aims at developing a model for integrated water resources management wherein water allocation to various sectors can be planned according to the availability.

Officials said data on the entire river basin, including rainfall, availability of resources in rivers and groundwater, people and even cattle in the region, would be collected and used for decision making.

“We will run the model to find out how much water will be available in the rivers, storage in dams and how much can be allocated to various users, be it for drinking, irrigation or industries, based on the rainfall forecast,” said an official.

For instance, parts of localities can be directed to use groundwater resources and others could be provided water from reservoirs and rivers.

Judicious use

This would help use the available water judiciously and avoid drought.

The department developed a comprehensive data collection system and also, a digital model for analysing the availability of water resources in Vaipar, Tamaraparani and Agniyar river basins in the previous two phases of the project.

The proposed third phase of the project will also include tanks to arrive at accurate decisions on water management.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 6:31:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/airborne-survey-to-map-aquifers/article6476106.ece

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