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Improving assessment of groundwater-resource sustainability with deterministic modelling : a case study of the semi-arid Musi sub-basin, South India

By Sylvain Massuel, B. A. George, J. P. Venot, L. Bharati and S. Acharya

Abstract

Since the 1990s, Indian farmers, supported by the government, have partially shifted from surface-water to groundwater irrigation in response to the uncertainty in surface-water availability. Water-management authorities only slowly began to consider sustainable use of groundwater resources as a prime concern. Now, a reliable integration of groundwater resources for water-allocation planning is needed to prevent aquifer overexploitation. Within the 11,000-km(2) Musi River sub-basin (South India), human interventions have dramatically impacted the hard-rock aquifers, with a water-table drop of 0.18 m/a over the period 1989-2004. A fully distributed numerical groundwater model was successfully implemented at catchment scale. The model allowed two distinct conceptualizations of groundwater availability to be quantified: one that was linked to easily quantified fluxes, and one that was more expressive of long-term sustainability by taking account of all sources and sinks. Simulations showed that the latter implied 13 % less available groundwater for exploitation than did the former. In turn, this has major implications for the existing water-allocation modelling framework used to guide decision makers and water-resources managers worldwide

Topics: Numerical modelling, Groundwater management, Water supply, Hard-rock aquifer, India
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s10040-013-1030-z
OAI identifier: oai:ird.fr:fdi:010061227
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