Groundwater typologies

One of the major aims of this research project is develop a strategic overview assessment of the occurrence and status of groundwater resources in the Indo-Gangetic basin, the response of the different groundwater resources to climate and abstraction, and how these may evolve in the future.

Groundwater typologies are being developed to systemise the hydrogeological data collated within the review, and highlight areas of different groundwater behaviour, which could require different management strategies.

Basin-wide assessment of main hydrogeological data

Within the basin-wide assessment we are systematically reviewing the main hydrogeological data available in the region to provide an overview of groundwater response to climate and abstraction in different parts of the basin. The review covers the whole of the Indo-Gangetic alluvium basin (Pleistocene to Holocene in age), stretching from the Sindh region in Pakistan, to the Lower Ganges and Brahmaputra basins in Bangladesh, and includes both the plain and the intermontane regions at the margins of the basin (Figure 1).

Figure 1: spatial extent of Indo-Gangetic alluvium basin.

Dealing with uncertainty

Figure 2: a large range of data types and sources are being reviewed across the basin.  All data are indexed within a project Access database and GIS, alongside confidence values and criteria.

A significant range of data types of differing quantity, age, source, spatial coverage and quality have been reviewed in the large-scale review to help devise and describe the groundwater typologies. Systematic criteria have been applied to assign confidence to individual studies reviewed, and the final typologies developed. This is essential to be able to assign a confidence to final project outputs when using a diverse range of datasets (Figure 2).

Groundwater typologies

Groundwater typologies will encapsulate the hydrogeological data collated within the review and explore how groundwater levels respond to climate and abstraction within each typology.

The typologies will take into account:

  • aquifer characteristics and potential fresh groundwater storage
  • recharge mechanisms and quantities
  • the dynamic response of groundwater to current climate and abstraction
  • current and future land use and management practices

Project workshop — Delhi, November 2013

A four day workshop was held in Delhi in November 2013 to bring together all the project partners to discuss the draft groundwater typologies and the main datasets reviewed (Figure 3). Key datasets omitted were identified, and work is now ongoing to finalise the typologies and data review.

Figure 3: project partners discussing draft project outputs and data review, Delhi, November 2013.
Figure 3: project partners discussing draft project outputs and data review, Delhi, November 2013.


Figure 4: The main groundwater typologies of the Indo-Gangetic basin alluvial aquifer

The main outputs are expected to be finalised by September 2014, including:

  • Seven major groundwater typologies developed for the basin (Figure 4).
  • Details of these typologies, and the methodology used to develop them, are presented and described within the Final project report


Contact Dr Alan MacDonald for further information.