GIS aiding groundwater recharge in hard rock terrain area

GIS aiding groundwater recharge in hard rock terrain area


Sunita Kumari
PhD Student at University of Kalyani, India
Email: [email protected]

In India, 65 percent of total geographical area is covered by hard rock formation. Using remote sensing and GIS technologies, suitable sites for artificial recharge aquifer in such areas can easily be identified, according to a study carried out in the Jumar river basin in Ranchi district in India. As part of this study, drainage density, frequency – including stream length and bifurcation ratio were calculated though Survey of India (SOI) topo sheet. Scenes contour is digitised for preparing elevation map and drainage pattern analysis. Amount of rainfall, soil type and water level of the well were some important data points which are collected and estimated during the field study. They were key parameters for identifying groundwater prospective zones. Digital as well as visual interpretation techniques were applied for creating geological map, lineament map, and land use/land cover map and also creating DEM, TIN and GRID modules. Groundwater elevation models were created through Surfer software to analyse groundwater flow direction, groundwater flow accumulation and groundwater contour. All these thematic layers were analysed after converting them into overlay. The GIS technology provided suitable alternative for efficient management of large and complex database to study groundwater resource and design suitable exploration plan of artificial recharge zone.

Remote sensing and GIS technologies permit rapid and cost effective natural resource survey and management. Moreover, remotely sensed data serve as vital tools in ground water prospecting in identifying landform features, drainage pattern and geomorphic indicators for location of recharge and discharge area. Analysis of geomorphologic condition is an essential prerequisite in understanding water bearing characteristic of most rocks. (Horton.1945)

Groundwater is a dynamic and replenishable natural resource, but in hard rock terrain availability of groundwater is limited. Occurrences of groundwater in such rock are essentially confined to fractured and weathered horizons. In India, 65 percent of the total geographical area is covered by hard rock formation. Therefore, efficient management and planning of groundwater recharge in these areas is necessary. (Saraf and Choudhury 1997, 1998)

The groundwater recharge is the entry of water from unsaturated zone into saturated zone below the surface (Freezee and Cherry, 1979; Sophocleaus 2002). There are many factors controlling the occurrences and path flow of groundwater like topography, litho logy, structure weathering grade, fracture extent, permeability, slope, drainage pattern, land from land use/land cover and climate (Jaiswal et al., 2003; Yeh et al., 2008). To achieve the quantification of these data, it is necessary to identify and characterised the uncertainty data (Nilson et al., 2006).

Ranchi is physiographically a plateau region. The average elevation is about 600 meter above mean sea level. The western part exceeds 760 meter above mean sea level. The geomorphologic units consist of shallow weathered pediment, structural hill and residual hill overlain by red and yellow soil along with lateretic soil, which is a major soil in the district resulting in poor fertility, coarse texture and low water capacity. The soil of upland is usually reddish to yellowish colour and lowland consists of miner sandy loam. Geology of the Ranchi region is occupied by granite and granite gneiss rocks. Younger formation consists of red / laterite soil and older formation consist of metamorphic rocks, schist and phyllite. These rocks contain numerous compositions of various rock types such as phyllites, mica, Schist, quartzite, etc including dyke of dolerite, vein of pegmatite and quartz. The oldest rocks in the area were originated from sedimentary rocks which underwent a series of deformation and metamorphism. These were later implemented by Chotanagpur granite and granite gneiss (after Sarker ,Saha and Miller 1969). About 103.6sq km area in Eastern north of Ranchi district is covered by sedimentary rocks of goundwana age.

Ranchi area has tropical to sub tropical climate with an average rainfall of 1300mm. Most of the water goes into river and very little water is stored in subsurface, which leads to the scarcity of water in this region. The study attempted is to utilise the available surface water from dam, nalabandh, ponds, and small rain water reservoir.

In the present study, morph metric analysis using remote sensing data and topo sheet of SOI was carried out at Jumar river basin. The drainage density, drainage frequency including stream length and bifurcation parameter was utilised. Soil and bore holes data were also utilised for ground water prospecting zone. Satellite data IRS 1C & 1D, Liss-3 year 1997, 1998 & 2004 including pan data merged with liss-3 were used. ArcView 3.2 software was used. Digital as well as visual techniques were applied to the water bodies covering river and marshy area. Eventually, DEM and TIN module were prepared for site selection of cheek dam for rain water harvesting. The geometric parameter scenes contour was digitised for preparing elevation map, used for basin and drainage analysis. Soil data was collected from different organisations.

Rainfall and runoffs were determined using soil conservation method. Soil erosion data was estimated and calculated during the field survey. Rainfall data is collected from Dept of Agriculture and Physics, BAU, Kanke, Ranchi. Depth of water table used for ground water investigation has been collected from Water resource department, Government of Jharkhand.

Study area
Area under Ranchi district lies between longitude 84°40′ to 85°40’E and latitude 22°40 ‘to 23°40′ where Jumar river basin covers from longitude 85°15’ to 85°27’E and latitude 23°23′ to 23°30’. Of the total area of Ranchi district of 7740sq km, basin area is covered by 210sq km. (topo sheet No73E/7. Show on figure No-1)

Figure 1
The major topographic region of this area is divided into two water shed areas. One is Jumar river and the other one is Potpoto river. The western parts show residual hills and also some of the southern middle part shows maximum height of 720mts. The plateau slopes are very gentle to steep. Isenberg, residual hill, structural hill and valley are among some of the physiographic structures found in the region.

The major geomorphic units identified in this area are Plateau Weather Shallow (PWS) which is 8-10mts, Plateau Weathered Moderate (PWM) which is10-15mts, Pediment Isenberg Complex (PIC). Some residual hills and Isenberg occur in the western part of the area. Valley and gullied valley are covered by a crossings river area and the plateau is covered by the weathered shallow part of area.

Lithology (geological unit)
Lithology of the area is mainly divided into two parts. Most of the parts consist of middle upper proterozoic Chotanagpur granite gneiss rocks type. Some lower part of the area consists of lower middle proterozoic unclassified meta sedimentary phyllite rocks. In this area faults, fracture/lineament generally act as a medium for movement of ground water in hard rock. Along this zone the yields are significant and the wells are likely to be sustainable for longer duration.

The soil formation of Ranchi area is:

  • Top soil – yellowish soil,
  • 5 meter depth – fine sand yellowish colour,
  • 10.6 meter depth – feldspathic rock(Namkum block), and
  • 15 meter depth- hard rock feldspathic rock.

The soil formation of Kanke area:

  • Top soil – red soil,
  • 3 meter depth – yellowish clay + mixed soil,
  • 4 meter depth – clay + coarse soil + gravel + sand,
  • 16 meter depth – weathered rock, and
  • More than 16 meter – biotic granite gneiss.

The weathered soil can be divided into red and yellow soil, grayish yellow soil, and sandy soil. The grain size analysis of these soils was collected from the data recorded by the civil depth of Engineering.

The climate is characterised by maximum and minimum temperature of 43º- 44º and 5º-6º respectively. The area falls under tropical to sub-tropical climate with average rainfall of about 1300mm. Important rivers of this area are Jumar and Potpoto. 20 percent of area is covered by forest and rest by hill, agriculture low land and settlement.

Natural vegetation
The natural vegetation was characterised by extensive Sal and Eucalyptus trees. Some plantations of Sisceem were also found.

Software use
Erdas-8.5 , Arc-View 3.1, Arc-GIS, Surfer.

Data used
The different sets of data used for the study with their source are given in table.

First Stage included development of spatial data base by the help of various (analogue map) SOI topo sheet of different scale. It was followed by tracing all drainage data and calculating drainage density, drainage frequency, stream order, stream length & bifurcation though using plannometer and curvimeter.

The second stage involved preparation of digital elevation model (DEM) by interpolating contour map that is digitised from SOI topo sheet. DEM was used to prepare slope, aspect, flow accumulation and stream order. Soil Conservation Services (SCS) methodology was widely used for preparing runoff potential map for small to medium size engaged drainage basin.

In the third stage, digital image processing of the satellite data was done for geo-referencing & geometric correction. This was followed by creation of different thematic layers using supervised classification technique. All the attributes from the collected data were summed to create the buffer map for agriculture area & settlement area. It was then followed by creation of other important data which were used to determine the ground water potential at the later stage like landuse/landcover map, geological/lineament map, geo-morphological map and hydro-geo-morphological.

In the fourth stage all above themes were further processed and analysed in overlay. Finally analysis was done using arithmetic, logical and conditional system for suitable site selection.

Methodology in flowchart
Contour map Contour map shows Elevation of the area. In (fig-2)

Figure 2
Recharge zone with contour and slope Maximum contour height of study area is 72m, along the western part and northwest part. Monadnocks are present along the north part so there is less recharge percolation. While along the eastern and north eastern sides, slope is less having chance of less run off and good percolation. If soil and geology support. So recharge zone is possible along E-NE region. Show on fig-2.

DRAINAGE MAP Drainage map shows how to calculate Drainage density, pattern and Frequency. Is show on fig-3 .It also provides stream length, Stream order, & bifurcation

Figure 3
Recharge zone with Drainage pattern The area shows dendritic pattern, which indicates less percolation and maximun run-off. Micro level drainage pattern has been traced out from the digitally proceessed image of the area, the darinage pattern is sub-dendritic on gentle is demarcated two basin area Jumar river basin and Potpoto river basin . micro water level thirty six sub water boundaries have been initially delineated and drainage density of each of theses calculated using GIS software. the water from stream can be diverted from the main canal to a series of smaller ditches spread in the dendritic pattern. The bifucation of ditches continues untill practically the water isinfilteration in the ground. Show on (figure-no-3, and figure-4)

Figure 4
Geomorphology map and geological map of study area
Recharge zone with Geomorphology The geomorphology map prepared based on specific tone, texture, size, shape and association of remotely sensed data. Show on (figure-5)

Figure 5
Hydrogeomorphologically, this area is classified into different zone covered by residual hills, inselberg, valley, valley gullied, plateau weathered shallow, plateau weathered moderate, plateau slightly dissected residual hills are the products of the process of pediplanation, which reduces the original mountain mass into a series of scattered knolls standing on the Pedi Plains (thornbury,1990). In the imagery they exhibit grey tone and coarse texture in black and white image and dark green colour in false colour composite.

Recharge zone with Geology and Lineament The area covered is a part of Chotanagpur Plateau , where the main rocks type are granite. With these granite rocks , there are enclaves of metamorphic rock mostly with east and west trend consisting of mica, schist, crystalline limestone, clay schist rock.

Meta sediment occurring in the north and western part viz. phyllite and schist. Show on – figure-6 and 7)

Figure 6

Figure 7
Lineaments foliation is mostly clubbed towards E-N-E direction. Within hard rock ground water potential is only occurred along the weaker zone lineament and foliation. Lineament is defined as the linear deformation occurred within the rock due to either some erosion causes or some structure causes and it is very easily identified through the help of satellite data and aerial photograph. So lineament is nothing but the weakness in a zone. According to the length it is characterised as mega lineament and minor –lineament. According to the occurrence it is characterised as confined and unconfined lineament. Confined and mega lineament zone are very good for water carrying potential and natural artificial recharging.

GRID model Though grid model we generate Raster map of surface area using contour elevation. Show on

Figure 8
TIN model Tin model generate Height and slope aspect of the area. This is based on an irregular distribution of elevation point.

Magnified Image of the TIN Model scaled at a interval of 10 Meters

DEM model Digital Elevation Model measures Slope, Aspect of Quality and Accuracy of Terrain model. Shown on figure no-11.

Figure 11
Land use land cover map is prepared through unsupervised classification. Shown on figure-12.

Figure 12
Ground water elevation model shown on figure-13.

Figure 13
Outcome of the project
Based-on the study and the analysis which was done, we were able to recommend an action plan to conserve and increase the ground water potential though rainwater harvesting across Jumar river basin. Following are the few recommended aquifers which can be built to help achieve the desired goal: site for check dam, site for “Nala Bandh”, small reservoir and farm ponds.

The list of recommended site conditions in order to build any of the above mentioned aquifer includes:

  • Site should be selected in a flatter Nala Reach and the slope of Nala should not be more than 2 percent.
  • As far as possible the catchments of the percolation tanks should not be less then 40 hector.
  • There should be a proper site for construction.
  • The “Nala Bandh” should have soil with advantage of permeability and good fracture development to facilitate good water recharge.
  • Area of rain water harvesting schemes should be located at high altitude.
  • The site should be located quite far off from Perennial River.
  • The post monsoon water level should be minimum 3meter Building and R.C.C. construction area should be beyond 25’-30’.

After all the analysis and calculations a list of recommended locations were finalised to construct the above mentioned aquifers includes:

  • Pond Location: Garu, Sukurhutu, Ihire and Sundil.
  • Check Dam: Dhanaraso,Manatu,Samatoli , Banhara and Nagri
  • Percoration Tank: Bharumtoli,Sundil and Doughtoli and Sundial.

These aforementioned recommendations can help alleviate the water scarcity problem of the dry area of Ranchi district.


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  • www.gis development net –application natural resource management
  • www.water resource development action plan by using remote sensing
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  • www.nrcs.usda. Gov/technical/standards
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