Improving our understanding of the aquifer systems in Sundarbans: report of pump priming project

Krishan, Gopal; Dasgupta, Purnaba; McKenzie, Andrew. 2020 Improving our understanding of the aquifer systems in Sundarbans: report of pump priming project. Wallingford and Pune, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, 36pp. (CEH Project no. C05962)

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The India-UK Water Centre (IUKWC) promotes cooperation and collaboration between the complementary priorities of NERC-MoES water security research. The Indian Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage site is home to 2.79 million people distributed over approximately 1100 villages, with 62 situated on the fringes of the forest. Majority of the population live in acute poverty with marginal living conditions and depend upon agriculture for its livelihood. Agriculture offers limited livelihood potential in the region due to higher sodic salinity levels in soils accentuated by sea level rise and sea water intrusion along with contamination of unconfined aquifers and agricultural lands. With increased crop demand in the past decade, ground water demand has also risen, as the limited rainfall fails to meet year round fresh water demand in the region. As a result, ground water abstraction has become a regular practice, where over abstraction often leads to severe water crisis during summer season. In this context this pump priming project was conceptualized jointly with National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), British Geological Survey (BGS) and Rajarhat PRASARI to understand the aquifer system in the Sundarbans, by identifying the practicality of artificial aquifer recharge, and its potential contribution to aquifer sustainability and possible role in year round regional water security. The key aims of the pilot project were: i. to generate a conceptualized model of artificial recharge with the community; ii. understanding communities fresh water demand/need for agriculture; and iii. current problems with ground water abstraction from the fresh water aquifers. Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is found to be a potential way of managing water resources to meet existing freshwater demands for drinking and irrigation purpose. It is the direct injection of surface water supplies such as potable water, reclaimed water (i.e. rainwater), or river water into an aquifer for later recovery and use. It can act as an effective adaptation mechanism to ensure long term water security and combat impacts of climate change in the region. The pump priming project took place from June – November 2019.

Item Type: Publication - Report
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
Funders/Sponsors: NERC, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), India
Additional Keywords: India-UK Water Centre
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 08 Dec 2020 14:40 +0 (UTC)

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