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Project Title:
Assessment and Management of Groundwater Resources of West Medinipur District of West Bengal

Thematic Area:
District level Groundwater Resources Assessment and Management for Developmental Planning

Latitude: 21045N - 23000N 
Longitude: 86030E-87045E 

* To create comprehensive database on the hydrological parameters of West Medinipur district on micro level water- shed basis. Generate data on status of water table during peak monsoon, pos-tmonsoon and pre-monsoon periods and its seasonal behaviour.
* To study the control of geology on the occurrence of groundwater and delineation of principal aquifers along with their morphological variations.
Hydraulic characteristics of the water bearing formations Remote sensing studies for locating fracture zones and for understanding factors influencing groundwater movement in different geomorphological settings.
* To carry out Geo-electrical sounding for finding out of subsurface lithological characteristics to facilitate location of new bore hole sites.
Preparation of water table contour map for understanding groundwater flow pattern.
Assessment of chemical quality of groundwater for determining its suitability for drinking, irrigation and industrial areas.
Block-wise assessment of groundwater recharge, utilization status and the balance available for further development and management. 
Preparation of various thematic maps on various groundwater utilization parameters using GRAM and related software and digitizer. 
* To evolve schemes for augmentation of groundwater resources by artificial recharge.
* To formulate a rational groundwater development policy for the district.

The project, which was sponsored by the DST under the NRDMS programme, was carried out from June 1994 to June 1997. West Medinipur district is characterized by an undulating terrain covered by hard rocks in the northwestern part, lateritic upland and Older Alluvial plains in the eastern and southeastern part. Three main river channels, which traverse the district from west to east, are the Silabati, the Kansabati and the Subarnarekha.
Groundwater occurred in the zone of saturation extending through alluvial formation and weathered residuum over the hard rocks. The water table was generally about 2 to 2.5m below land surface. The water table gradually declined towards north, central and southern sector.
Groundwater in the shallow zones occurred in an unconfined state. The deep confined aquifers were overlain by a 20 to 40m thick clay bed. The principal water-bearing zones consisting of coarse sediments occur at the depth range of 21-149m. Tube wells installed within this depth were generally successful. Heavy duty tube well tapping confined aquifer recorded yield of 90 to 136 m3/hour of groundwater at drawdown ranging from 6 to 10m.
Aquifers occurring in the northern parts of the district had the lowest potentialities as indicated by transmissivity value of 43 m2/day. The aquifers occurring in the eastern parts were characterized by higher values of transmissivity ranging from 1760 to 4106 m2/day, while in the northern part the value varied from 108 to 698.4 m2/day, in the central part it was 400 m2/day.
Comparison of water level data collected in mid seventies, with those generated during 1996, indicated a general recession of water table as well as the piezometric surface to the tune of 1.2 to 3.5 cm/year in the pre-monsoon period while, during post-monsoon is varied between 0.2 and 0.5 cm/year. 
The chemical quality of groundwater in West Medinipur district was found to be very fresh being characterized by low chloride content in all parts of the district. Groundwater, in West Medinipur district, collected from tubewells, were generally free from pathogenic bacteria but the same was not true for the water samples collected from dugwells, autoflows and springs. 
There was a considerable scope for increasing groundwater recharge through the implementation of various water-harvesting structures viz, contour bunding, sub-surface dyke etc.

Physiographically, the district occupied uplands in the northern and western parts, while the eastern and southeastern parts constituted the flat alluvial plains. As far as land is concerned, the cultivable area was mainly used for rice cultivation along with some vegetables. Mainly two types of soils are there, Lateritic and alluvial. Geologically, the district presents an array of diverse geological units, from hard and consolidated Pre-cambrian to unconsolidated alluvium of recent age. Geomorphologically, the district can be classified into 4 units namely Hard Rock Uplands, Lateritic Uplands, Alluvial plains and valley fills.

Data used:
Survey of India Toposheet
Satellite imageries of IRS1B, LISS-II
Bore-hole log data
Vertical electrical soundings (VES)
Groundwater samples data for chemical analyses
Pump test data for various locations,
Depth to water level data and Meteorological data (rainfall).

The groundwater in the district was mainly bicarbonate type and was suitable for drinking as well as irrigation purposes. But the percentage of iron was high both in the shallow level and in the deeper parts of the aquifers.
Yield from tubewells was about 50m3/hr in the northern and western parts of the district, while it increased eastwards and southeastwards. In deeper parts, groundwater occurred under confined condition.
Groundwater balance, calculated by water table fluctuation method, showed the total balance for the 17 blocks was 698.55 MCM, which was 108% excess over the total draft of 334.83 MCM. The total flow of groundwater for 7 blocks in the confined part during post monsoon season was 50 million cubic meters whereas in the pre-monsoon season it was 35 million cubic meters for the district for the season 1995-1996. This excess balance may be used for future groundwater development.

Date of Project completion:
June 1997

Total cost of project: 
Rs. 11,05,000/- (Including the cost of the project " Assessment and Management of Groundwater Resources of Purulia District of West Bengal")

Project Investigator:
Honorary Secretary
Center for Study of Man & Environment,
Parivesh Kendra, CK-11, Sector-2, Salt Lake, 
Kolkata-700 091
E-Mail: csme[at]vsnl[dot]net
Phone-(033)23210861, 23590781