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Springs in a headwater basin in the Deccan Trap country of the Western Ghats, India

Naik, PradeepK., Awasthi, ArunK., Mohan, PrakashC.
Hydrogeology journal 2002 v.10 no.5 pp. 553-565
aquifers, basins, drinking, ecosystems, groundwater, hills, human communities, humans, irrigation, landscapes, rain, watersheds, India
Available literature reveals that little work has been done on the origin of springs in a basaltic terrain. Close examination of such springs in about 2,000 km² of the upper Koyna River basin in the Deccan Trap country of the Western Ghats (hills), India, reveals that their origins are dependent on the lithologic character of different basaltic flow units and the existing physiography. Although rainfall, its seasonality and areas of recharge, play vital roles in the recharge of these springs, their yields are also controlled by lithological variations and hydraulic characteristics of their source-aquifers. Chemical concentrations of these springs are heavily dependent on the lithological compositions of the source-aquifers and the residence time of groundwater in these aquifers. Currently, basaltic springs are classified with those issuing from other terrains. However, because the emergence of groundwater in the form of springs is largely controlled by the lithology and the resulting water-bearing properties of the formations, a new classification scheme is proposed that classifies the springs on the basis of their source-aquifers.While tapping springs for drinking/irrigation purposes, it must be remembered that they also sustain thousands of other life forms vital to a balanced ecosystem. Changes in the uses of these springs may also affect other human communities downstream. Therefore, before developing spring flow, a trade-off must be made considering local needs and downstream users. Emphasizing only local human needs may lead to severe intercommunity conflict and negative environmental consequences.