Modelling the impact of extensive irrigation on the groundwater resources



Drastic groundwater resource depletion due to excessive extraction for irrigation is a major concern in many parts of India. In this study, an attempt was made to simulate the groundwater scenario of the catchment using ArcSWAT. Due to the restriction on the maximum initial storage, the deep aquifer component in ArcSWAT was found to be insufficient to represent the excessive groundwater depletion scenario. Hence, a separate water balance model was used for simulating the deep aquifer water table. This approach is demonstrated through a case study for the Malaprabha catchment in India. Multi-site rainfall data was used to represent the spatial variation in the catchment climatology. Model parameters were calibrated using observed monthly stream flow data. Groundwater table simulation was validated using the qualitative information available from the field. The stream flow was found to be well simulated in the model. The simulated groundwater table fluctuation is also matching reasonably well with the field observations. From the model simulations, deep aquifer water table fluctuation was found very severe in the semi-arid lower parts of the catchment, with some areas showing around 60 m depletion over a period of eight years. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.