Groundwater Rejuvination As Climate changE Resilience for marginalized and gender sensitive GangeS (GRACERS)

  • Research & Development
  • 137.000 project budget
  • May 2019 - May 2021
  • Partners: CTARA IITB (lead), N.M. Sadguru Foundation, National Institute of Hydrology (India), IWM (Bangladesh)
  • Donor: Stichting IHE Delft
  • Donor Programme: DGIS - UNESCO-IHE Programmatic Coorperation II
South Asia
South Asia

This project has been selected under the DUPC2 South-South Call and is led by Prof. Pennan Chinnasamy, Assistant Professor, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), and Director - Rural Data Research and Analysis lab at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), India. Many streams that feed into the Ganges river are converting from perennial to seasonal, thus limiting stream water flow in non-monsoon periods. This is due to the combined effect of climate change (by delaying and shortened monsoons) and anthropogenic factors (mismanagement of water resources). As a result the groundwater levels in the Ganges basin are falling down sharply, and are affecting the rural communities who depend on groundwater for domestic and irrigation water supply. Village wells are running dry, and women are forced to go far distances to fetch water, leading to social and economic stress and loss of school time for girls, while fetching water. By constructing groundwater recharge structures in a decentralized/distributed approach, the villages can easily store the rainwater and allow it to recharge the groundwater levels. This will allow monsoon rainfall to be stored in the soil layers and delay runoff into the rivers, thus leading to sustained well water levels in dry periods and reduction in peak floods in the main channel. To install these groundwater recharge structures, vulnerability assessment maps and feasibility location maps are needed. The feasibility location maps will take into account physical factors (e.g. geology, hydrology, climate, and distance to wells), social (e.g. representation of and near to marginalized community wells) and economic factors (e.g. procuring land, mobilization of village communities). Village surveys will be conducted along with collection, cleaning and analysis of government groundwater data for producing social-economic inputs to the maps. High resolution – free satellite imagery will be used to identify key locations based on the physical factors. One site (Purba Medinipur district) in Indian Ganges delta and two sites (Naogaon and Khulna district) in Bangladesh Ganges delta regions are identified for this project. These sites have witnessed unsustainable groundwater extractions, less natural groundwater recharge and groundwater pollution. This project will aim to produce feasibility maps for decentralized/distributed groundwater recharge in the Ganges basin that will enable storing of monsoon rainfall for dry season water access. These maps will seamlessly fit into the recommendation plans of bigger projects, currently undertaken by the Government of India and that of Bangladesh. The project findings will first sensitize the groundwater issues and propose sites and methods to increase groundwater recharge.

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