February 26, 2005

2005: Highlight # 25

Discussions on water resources of a river basin often focus on surface water. Kumar and others argue why it is essential to include groundwater in the calculus... 

Changes in Groundwater Ecology and its Implication for Surface Flows

Studies from Narmada River Basin, Madhya Pradesh, India

M. Dinesh Kumar, Santanu Ghosh, O.P. Singh, Rahul Ranade and R. Ravindranath

Most of the discussion on enhancing the utilization of water resources in Narmada river basin, in its first master plan, had focused on its river flows. But, groundwater which is an integral component of the basin hydrology had not been taken into account by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) while deciding on the allocation norms for the four party states.

Based on analysis of long-term changes in groundwater balance and average annual groundwater level fluctuations, the authors make an empirical argument that increase in groundwater draft results in reduced outflows into the surface water stream. Therefore, any discussion on changes in hydrology of the river basin, its likely impacts on basin parties and compensation for such changes should focus on the overall changes in the basin's water resource system.

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