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GIS and GWW is tool for creating Ground Water Information System (GWIS) – A case study of upper Barakar basin, Bihar

Ashok Kumar, L. B. Prasad, B. B. Prasad, Nisha Mendiratta*
Remote Sensing Application Centre, IGSC-Planetarium, Patna-800001, India
*Deptt of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, Technology Bhawan
New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi- 110016, India

Occurrence of groundwater is a limited and scarce resource in the Chotanagpur Plateau of Bihar. It is becoming a precious natural resource due to increasing population, agriculture, and industrial growth in the region. For quick overview of the problem and its remedial measures, there is a need to establish ground water information system where data from various sources can be stored and analysed in time and space. To develop Ground Water Information System (GWIS) of the Upper Barakar Basin, Bihar, GRAM++ GIS and GWW package have been used. GRAM++ helps in analysing various spatial and non-spatial data relared to groundwater whereas GWW stores data, creates hydrographs, well logs, various chemical diagrams, cross section, fence diagrams, contour maps etc.. At present 450 observation sites have been included in GWIS of Upper Barakar Basin and it includes information about the water table fluctuation, geology, geomorphology, aquifer characteristics, electrical litho-log, topography, location and administrative details, depth of basement, aquifer hydro-geophysical parameters, panel and cross section of the aquifer etc. In the present paper, approach adopted for establishing GWIS of the Upper Barakar Basin in GWW and its analysis has been discussed. The information system in GWW has made simple to understand and analyse the groundwater of the Upper Barakar Basin. Creation of GWIS in other parts of hard rock area may be attempted for planning and management of groundwater resources.

In hard rock area of Bihar, groundwater is precious natural resources and it is limited. Growth in population, agriculture and industry further force us for advance planning and management for its sustainable utilisation. Occurrence of groundwater in hard rock area is erratic and its analysis needs information on various parameters such as geology, geomorphology, recharge, aquifer geometry, porosity, specific yield, storage, yield etc. besides its variation in time and space. This needs huge database on groundwater otherwise it will not be possible to look into area specific problem. Prior to making recommendations with suggested groundwater utilisation for the future, there is a need to create a modern, integrated, and comprehensive Ground Water Information System (GWIS). The planning process needs detailed input on various parameters, its integration and analysis. On parts of scientific study, establishment of information system in retrievable format will be the first steps towards planning and management of groundwater of the area. In situation like drought and water crisis, GIWS may used for assessing the magnitude of crisis and immediate remedial measures to be adopted. 

The information system can be created using GIS. GIS in groundwater can be used for spatial and no-spatial data management, analysis, visualization, contouring, attribute tables, statistical analysis integration. But most of GIS software particularly GRAM++ does not support the geohydrological parameters processing, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data in standard geohydrological format. Besides GIS another approach is to create a dedicated ground water database and incorporate various data processing routines and applications within a self-contained ground water information system (GWIS). This approach is best demonstrated with the United Nations Ground Water for Windows (GWW) package ( Karanjack et. al., 1997). GWW is a relational ground water database, a suite of data processing, analysis, interpretation and presentation applications, and an information system. In the present study integrated approach has been used for creation of GWIS of Upper Barakar basin. GWIS has been created from database generated by Kumar et al (1999) and data available from other sources i.e. CGWB ( Bhattacharya, 1990). 

Study Area
The Upper Barakar Basin is a part of Chotanagpur plateau of Bihar. It is located between latitude 240 0′-240 6′ 5″ and longitude 85016’15”-85022’30. The entire study area has areal extent of 620sq. km. Basin falls under the administrative jurisdiction of Hazaribagh, Chatra and Koderma districts of Bihar. Geomorphologically, upper reaches is parts of scrap zone between Upper and lower Hazaribagh plateau and further north of scarp zone is undulating pediplain. The topographic height varies from 600 m in the southern side to 370m m.s.l. in extreme north. Kewta and Anjanwa are the main rivers which flow in east-west direction. The drainage patterns are dendritic to sub dendritic and channels represent aggradational fluvial character. Geologically it is a part of Chotanagpur granite gneiss complex. Dominant rock types are granite gneiss and meta-sedimentary of precambrian age.

Table 1.1: Master Data Structure
Data Entry No. of Characters Data Type Format No. of Decimal digit Unit
Well Ident. 10 Well      
Description 50 Character      
District 20 Character      
Village 20 Character      
Owner 20 Character      
X 10 Numerical(Dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Y 10 Numerical(Dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Z 10 Numerical(Dim) Fixed 2 Meter
ZM 10 Numerical(Dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Map Sheet No. 10 Character      
Year 10 Chracter      
Geomorphology 20 Character      
Aquifer Type 20 Character      
Watershed 20 Character      
Block 20 Character      
Aquifer Material 20 Character      
Relative Geomorphology 20 Character      
Water table 10 Numerical(dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Depth of Basement 10 Numerical(dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Aquifer Resistivity 10 Numerical Fixed 2 Ohm-M
Date of Observation 10 Date dd.mm.yy    

Ground Water Information System (GWIS) of Upper Barakar Basin, Hazaribagh has created with help of two independent package namely GRAM++ (DST/IIT-B, 1999) and GWW (Karanjac et al, 1997). GRAM++ window based GIS package has been used for analysis of spatial and non-spatial details such as village boundaries, communication, land-use, socio-economic data etc. and related quires. The GWW has been used for analysis of geohydrological parameters such as Master Data, Chemistry, Pumping Test, Hydrographs, Mapping, Well Log, Cross Section, Fence Diagrams, Step Drawdown Test, Grain Size Curve, Abstraction etc.

The following themes have been taken into consideration GWIS in GRAM++: Village boundary and demographic characteristics, drainage, transportation network, land-use, hydrogeomorphology, surface water, topography, groundwater development feasibility etc.

The following parameters have been taken into consideration for establishment of GWIS in GWW.

  1. Location parameters for wells, sampling points, springs etc. (Well identification code, SOI code, owner, use of well, village, block and district name, X and Y coordinates, Ground surface elevation, regional belonging (basin/ watershed), geology, aquifer types, types of well ) 
  2. Water Level Data : new observation wells, observation wells of CGWB and SGWB 
  3. Lithology, Stratigraphy 
  4. Hydro-geological and Hydro-geophysical Parameters [aquifer characteristics, depth and thickness of aquifer, effective porosity (approximated), aquifer resistivity]. Transmissivity, hydraulic conductivity and leakage coefficient of aquifer has not been included due to non-availability of sufficient data.

The data structure files for inputting the raw data has been given Table -1.1 to 1.5

The following are the data retrievals and presentations using the database and information system created with the GWW software

  • Location maps showing points ( observation well, vertical electrical sounding sites, surface elevation, basement depth observation location), lines and areas ( watershed boundary ) 
  • Various contours maps ( surface elevation, depth of basement, water level, aquifer resistivity ) 
  • Lithological cross-sections ( in present study it is electrical log ) 
  • Fence diagrams showings the lithology, stratigraphy and water levels or heads

Table 1.2: Chemical Data Structure
Data Entry No. of Characters Data Type Format No. of Decimal digit Unit
Well Ident. 10 Well      
Ca 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Mg 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Na 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
K 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Fe 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Mn 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
HCO3 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
SO4 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Cl 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
NO3 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
NO2 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
PO4 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
F 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
B 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Sio2 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
TDS 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Hardness 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Alkalinity 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Conductivity 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
PH 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Ca 10 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
Cations 8 Numerical (Und) Fixed 2  
Anions 8 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
SAR 8 Numerical(Und) Fixed 2  
BalErr 8 Nunerical (Und) Fixed 2  

Informations on topography (Fig. 1.1), villages (Fig. 1.2) and communication network, drainage (Fig. 1.3), surface water, geomorphology, aquifer geometry (Fig. 1.4), aquifer hydrogeophysical properties, groundwater development feasibility, geohydrology, landuse (Fig. 1.5), demographic (Fig. 1.6) temes have been created, analysed and prepared in GRAM++ environment (BCST/DST, 1999). Besides this The available database contains information about water table data of more than 200 sites, vertical electrical sounding response of 200 sites, 10 years meteorological data, data of hydrographs stations mentioned by Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water Board. A location detail of these data has been incorporated in the thematic maps in GRAM++. But the huge data on single theme “groundwater” was not integrated. The groundwater data collected and generated in GRAM++ has been rearranged in the GWW format. The data import to GWW is simple and it imports data in asccii format. In the study area authentic bore litholog data is not available where as interactive display of well log, cross-section and fence diagram is one of important facilities available in GWW. Therefore, the electrical log obtained through interpretation of VES response from individual sites have been converted into litho-log/ section and it has been inputted in GWIS as pseudo litho-log. 

In the entire database, well identification is unique number through which data on different geohydrological parameters can retrieve and analysed in specific application module available within the GWW. The single GWIS data file of Upper Barakar Basin, Hazaribagh, Bihar has been internally structured as Master Data, Chemistry, Chemistry, HGWL, Hydrographs, and Welllog. From database in GWW application like display of Master Data (Fig. 2.1), Chemistry (Fig. 2.2), Hydrographs (Fig. 2.3), Mapping (Fig. 2.4), Well Log (Fig. 2.5), Cross Section (Fig. 2.6) and Fence Diagrams (Fig. 2.7) can be performed in users defined format. The details of information available in GWIS is given below

  • Master data: Master data of 200 sites contains well identification, X, Y, Z, ZM, name, watershed, district, block, geology, aquifer type, water table, basement depth, aquifer resistivity. 
  • Map: Location of water table observation sites and VES sites, Topographic map, basement depth map, iso-resistivity map, water table contour map.
  • Lithology and Construction: well, X, Y, Z, ZM, vertical scale, horizontal scale, and lithology, drill hole. 
  • Water Level Data: Well identification number, date of observation (yy/mm/dd), Level

The GWW does not support 3-D display of contours. Further, analysis between two spatial themes is also not possible. For this purposes GRAM++ has been used to derive the village wise information from different thematic maps. The village wise demographic details, infra-structural facilities, area suitable for dugwell, dug-cum-borewell & bore well development, land-use conditions, surface water, soil, wasteland data has been generated in GRAM++. At present GRAM++ and GWW is not interfaced. GWW has facilities for importing DXF format map into the GWIS. But imported map will not be active layer. It can be viewed or displayed like in image only.

Table 1.3: Pumping Test Data Structure
Data Entry No. of Characters Data Type Format No. of Decimal digit Unit
Well Ident. 10 Well      
TestDate 10 Date dd.mm.yy    
Distance 10 Nummerical (Dim) Fixed 2 Meter
AvgPRate 15 Numerical (Dim) Float 7 m3/day
Duration 15 Numerical (Dim) Float 7 m3/day
InsatTh 15 Numerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
Transmissivity 15 Numerical (Dim) Float 7 M2/day
Storage 15 Numerical (Und) Float 7  
Leakance 15 Num (Dim) Float 7 1/day
ConfAqthickness 10 Numerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
B 10 Nunerical (Dim) Fixed 2 m
L 10 Nunerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
D 10 Nunerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
L1 10 Nunerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
B 10 Nunerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
D1 10 Nunerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
StandardError 10 Nunerical (Dim) Fixed 2 M
Mrthod 25 Character      
Table 1.4: Hydrographs Data Structure
Data Entry No. of Characters Data Type Format No. of Decimal digit Unit
Well Ident. 10 Well      
Aquifer 30 Character      

TheGeographic Information System (GIS) and Ground Water for Window (GWW) has helped in creating interactive ground water information system. The scattered non-standard data on different parameters available with different users agencies have been well arranged in reteriviable format in GWW. Now the GWIS of Upper Barakar basin is providing well arranged and stuctured database. The created information system in GIS and GWW may be used to the standard ground water modeling package. However due to lack of interface between GIS package and GWW, the data realted to other natural resources can not be actively linked togeather. There is further scope for development of interface between GIS ( in prsent case GRAM++).

At present there is no common plareform for creation of GWIS in the country. The apporach adopted in the creation of GWIS for Upper Barakar Basin, Hazaribagh may be used in the other parts of Country. GWIS of Upper Barakar has provided oppurtunity to understand the different themes of ground water in integrated manner.

Table 1.5: Well Log and Lithology Data Structure
Data Entry No. of Characters Data Type Format No. of Decimal digit Unit
Well Ident. 10 Well      
Drill. Dates 25 Character      
SWL 10 Numerical (Dim) Fixed 2 Meter
DWL 10 Numerical (Dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Drill. Method 30 Character      
ConcrBlockDx 10 Numerical (dim) Fixed 2 Meter
ConcrBlockDy 10 Numerical (dim) Fixed 2 Meter
ConcrBlockH 10 Numerical (dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Above GS 10 Numerical (dim) Fixed 2 Meter
Vert.Scale 10 Numerical (Und) Fixed 1  
Hor.Scale 10 Numerical (Und) Fixed 1  

Authors are thankful to Prof. D. P. Singh, Project Director, Bihar Council on Science and Technology, Patna for giving constant encouragement for research work. Authors are thankful to Deptt of Science and Technology, Govt. of India for providing financial assistance to the project and arranging training course in Ground Water Modeling under NRDMS-UNDP programme. Authors are also thankful to Dr. Jasminko Karanjac for providing training in GWW and Visual Modflow.


  • BCST/DST (1999). Aquifer Geometry analysis and Natural Resources Management in GIS Environment, Upper Barakar Basin, Koderma, Bihar, Unpublished report of BCST, Patna
  • Bhattacharya B. B., ( 1990 ). Hydrogeological and Ground Water Resources of Hazaribagh, District, Bihar, Unpublished Report of Central Ground Water Board, Patna.
  • Braticevic Dusan and Karanjac Jasminko (1997). Ground Water for Windows (ver. 1.31) software and manual, Department for Development Support and Management Services, United Nation.
  • DST – CSRE ( 1999 ). GRAM++ Window based GIS Package, Deptt of Science & Technology, New Delhi.