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Mapping lithological variations in a river basin of West Bengal, India using electrical resistivity survey: implications for artificial recharge

Panda, K. Pratima, Sharma, S. P., Jha, Madan K.
Environmental earth sciences 2018 v.77 no.17 pp. 626
aquifers, basins, clay, electrical resistance, groundwater, groundwater recharge, image analysis, laterites, rain, rivers, sand, surveys, sustainable development, water supply, watersheds, India
Groundwater is a treasured earth’s resource and plays an important role in addressing water and environmental sustainability. However, its overexploitation and wide spatial variability within a basin and/or across regions are posing a serious challenge for groundwater sustainability. Some parts of southern West Bengal of India are problematic for groundwater occurrence despite of high rainfall in this region. Characterization of an aquifer in this area is very important for sustainable development of water supply and artificial recharge. Electrical resistivity surveys using 1-D and 2-D arrays were performed at a regular interval from Subarnarekha River at Bhasraghat (south) to Kharagpur (north) to map the lithological variations in this area. Resistivity sounding surveys were carried out at an interval of 2–3 km. Subsurface resistivity variation has been interpreted using very fast simulated annealing (VFSA) global optimization technique. The analysis of the field data indicated that the resistivity variation with depth is suitable in the southern part of the area and corresponds to clayey sand. Interpreted resistivity in the northern part of the area is relatively high and reveals impervious laterite layer. In the southern part of the area resistivity varies between 15 and 40 Ωm at a depth below 30 m. A 2-D resistivity imaging conducted at the most important location in the area is correlated well with the 1-D results. Based on the interpreted resistivity variation with depth at different locations different types of geologic units (laterite, clay, sand, etc.) are classified, and the zone of interests for aquifer has been demarcated. Study reveals that southern part of the area is better for artificial recharge than the northern part. The presence of laterite cover in the northern part of the area restricts the percolation of rainwater to recharge the aquifer at depth. To recharge the aquifer at depth in the northern part of the area, rainwater must be sent artificially at depth by puncturing laterite layers on the top. Such studies in challenging areas will help in understanding the problems and finding its solution.