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Integrated water resource management model: An example from India

Author(s): C.P.Priju* Department of Marine Geology and Geophysics Cochin University of Science and Technology Lakeside Campus, Cochin 682 016, India
Congress: 2008
Author(s): C.P.Priju
Lecturer Department of Marine Geology and Geophysics Cochin University of Science and Technology Lakeside Campus Cochin - 682 016, India E-mail:

Keyword(s): Integrated water resource management, demand driven approach, source sustainability, groundwater recharge, India
AbstractThe sustainability of drinking water sources is mainly dependent on the suitable site selection and adoption of site-specific groundwater recharge practices. This paper attempt to bring out the new methodologies adopted for sustainability by the rural drinking water supply schemes aided by World Bank being implemented in selected parts of central Kerala, southwestern India. The area mainly lies in midlands (6-80 m above msl) receives an average rainfall of 300 cm, the bulk of which (70%) received during the southwest monsoon (June to September) and rest from the northeast monsoon (October to December). In spite of this, the area experiences severe water scarcity from January to May when the rainfall is minimum. The depth of the water level in the area varies from 3-16 m bgl and it sustains mainly medium capacity dugwells. Borewells tapping deeper fractured aquifer are feasible along fractures and lineaments. Potential fractures are seen down to 150 m and the most productive zone is between 60 m and 100 m. The discharge of borewells range between 3,600 lph and 1,00,000 lph. Laterites form potential aquifer along valleys and can sustain wells with yields in the range of 0.5 m3 to 6 m3 per day. Unlike the supply driven approach hitherto followed, the new water supply schemes were implemented based on a demand driven approach giving due importance for the quality, sustainability of the source, regularity and adequacy of supply. This is being met through other well-integrated components. Sustainability of source is ensured through Point-Source as wells as comprehensive recharge measures. Quality is ascertained through a mix of Sanitation & Hygiene promotion and provision of infrastructure like latrines, compost pits etc. Sustainability of system is ensured through community empowerment, capacity building, women empowerment and social mobilization. Site-specific source selection procedures were followed in conjunction with the suitable artificial recharge methods. Dugwells, borewells, dug-cum-bore wells, infiltration galleries as well as rainwater harvesting structures were adopted. Providing dug-cum-bore wells in specific areas regulated the usage of groundwater. In remote highlands, gravity based schemes from perennial streams sources have been suggested. Point recharge measures were designed and implemented to tap the seasonal rains, which supplemented the groundwater reserves in the summer months. Dugwell recharge methods were employed on a massive scale along with construction of check dams and vented cross bars found successful for rising summer water table. Steep gradient, limited storage capacity of crystalline fractured rock aquifers and highly permeable nature of the lateritic overburden are some of the natural causes for water scarcity in the area. Population pressure, ground water overexploitation and reduction of natural recharge have made the problem more severe. An integrated water resource management plan is highly suitable for solving water scarcity poblem in the future. *Author worked as a Hydrogeologist, District Project Management Unit, Kerala Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (WB Project), Thrissur 3, India
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