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Adaptation of standardised precipitation index for understanding watertable fluctuations and groundwater resilience in hard-rock areas of India

  • Chinnasamy, Pennan
  • Maheshwari, B.
  • Prathapar, Sanmugam
Publication Date
Jun 30, 2018


Groundwater use in India, and many developing countries, is linked to livelihood and well-being of village communities. It is, therefore, important to characterise groundwater behaviour and resilience and identify strategies that will help to improve the sustainability of groundwater supplies. The concept of Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI) has been widely used for analysing rainfall drought. In this study, we adapt SPI to understand watertable fluctuations and assess resilience of groundwater supplies vis-à-vis rainfall variability from one year to the next. The modified SPI, called Groundwater Resilience Index (GRI), represents a normalized continuous watertable elevation variability function. The index is applied to two districts, viz., Udaipur and Aravalli in Rajasthan and Gujarat, India, respectively, to assess its usefulness. To evaluate the association of rainfall variability with groundwater depth fluctuation, SPI was also calculated. The study showed that GRI varies less than SPI, indicating that groundwater availability is less variable than the rainfall in both districts. This means that groundwater increases reliability of water supply for irrigation in both districts. The estimated SPI and GRI at 6-month intervals for the study period show that even though the groundwater is not stressed (normal condition in 75% of the months observed), there is variation in resilience of the aquifer system to drought and extreme events. Overall, the study indicated that the proposed GRI can be a useful tool for understanding watertable fluctuations and assessing groundwater resilience, especially to prioritise areas for groundwater recharge when funds for recharge works are limited. / Peer Review

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