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Airborne surveys to map aquifers in five Indian states

India: The World Bank has funded ‘Aquifer India Mapping Project’ (AQUIM), which aims to map deep and shallow aquifers in five Indian states. Mrinal K. Sen, Director, CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), said that advanced technology would be used to map subsurface structures to know various aspects such as the properties of the rock layers.

Beginning from mid-October, the surveys would be conducted through a helicopter fitted with electro-magnetic equipment in six sites identified in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Based on its outcome, the project would be scaled across the country to prepare micro-level aquifer mapping to meet the growing groundwater demand, while ensuring its sustainability.

Prof. Sen said that ground-based surveys had already been completed in Maharashtra and Karnataka and a helicopter would be hired soon to conduct heliborne studies in a phased manner. NGRI would collaborate with Department of Geosciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark for carrying out electromagnetic surveys.

Pointing out the advantage of heliborne surveys, he said that large areas could be covered quickly while ground-based studies were time-consuming. The study areas represent different terrains including Ganga Basin in Bihar; hard rocks and desert in Rajasthan; basaltic traps in Maharashtra; crystalline rocks in Karnataka and coastal sediments in Tamil Nadu.

Source: The Hindu