CSIR-NGRI releases 3D aquifer map of 10,000 sq.km area of Ganga-Yamuna ‘doab’ between Prayagraj and Kanpur

Scientists say it will be useful for augmentation of groundwater resources in the region; study also finds a 200-km-long buried ‘ancient’ river running between present-day Ganga and Yamuna rivers

Updated - September 25, 2023 07:31 pm IST

Published - September 25, 2023 07:26 pm IST - HYDERABAD

A team of scientists from Hyderabad-based CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), led by former director and scientist Virendra M. Tiwari, on Monday unveiled a 3D aquifer map of 10,000 sq.km area of Ganga-Yamuna ‘doab’ between Prayagraj and Kanpur. The scientists say it will be useful for the management and augmentation of groundwater resources in the region.

The team had carried out the aquifer mapping with advanced heliborne geophysical technologies, and the results were validated through ground-based measurement and drilling. The study further showed hydrogeological linkages among a ‘paleoriver’ (an ancient river), the Ganga and the Yamuna with an underlying aquifer system, said Dr. Tiwari.

These hydrogeological connections between two existing and an ancient river makes them a unified system, which may facilitate exchange of water as well contaminants, he pointed out.

Also, over 100 sites suitable for managed aquifer recharge were identified in the study to enhance groundwater level. The former NGRI director said the managed aquifer recharge would help rejuvenate the river system and attain groundwater resource sustainability.

Ancient river found

The buried ‘ancient’ river, discovered during the study, is 200-km long and runs between the present day Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The dimensions of the subterranean river are similar to the present-day course of the two rivers, said Dr. Tiwari.

Project chief investigator Subash Chandra said site details of the ‘paleoriver’ channel, the managed aquifer recharge sites with village names and latitude-longitude points have been embedded in the study report.

The project was funded by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of ‘Jal Shakti’, and was supported by the regional office of Central Ground Water Board, Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh Minister Swatantra Dev Singh formally released the report at a special function held there.

Need to save drying rivers

Mr. Dev lauded CSIR-NGRI for carrying out such a study and said it should be further extended towards northwest region to address a larger perspective of the aquifer system and rejuvenation of drying rivers. Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries, with vast groundwater resources potential stored in multi-layered alluvial aquifers, is known to be one of the largest aquifer systems in the world.

There is, however, a need for scientific planning to manage groundwater under different hydrogeological situations and to evolve effective management practices with the involvement of community for better groundwater governance, he said.

This is because over-exploitation of groundwater, erratic and decreasing rains, increased water contamination and reduced ecological flows have put UP in a critical and challenging situation, added the Minister.

NMCG executive director D.P. Mathuria, Groundwater department director V.K. Upadhyay and other senior officials were present.

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