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Environ Earth Sci (2009) 59:929938

DOI 10.1007/s12665-009-0087-4

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Modelling of ground water recharge-potential in the hard-rock


Aravalli terrain, India: a GIS approach
C. Bhuiyan Ramesh P. Singh W. A. Flugel

Received: 4 March 2008 / Accepted: 31 January 2009 / Published online: 20 February 2009
Springer-Verlag 2009

Abstract Modelling of ground water recharge-potential


in hard-rock areas principally aims at water-resource
evaluation. Various techniques are available to assess
recharge-potential, and their capability in estimating
recharge is also variable. However, the water level fluctuation method is found capable in computing actual ground
water recharge. Demarcation of ground water rechargepotential zones in arid and semi-arid regions is of great
importance for human survival and sustainable development. Remote sensing and geographic information systems
(GIS) techniques have been widely used by numerous
researchers for qualitative assessment of ground water
potential of a basin or terrain. In the present study, a GISbased water table fluctuation method has been attempted
for quantitative modelling of ground water recharge of the
hard-rock Aravalli terrain. This GIS-based model is further
used to evaluate recharge-potential of the terrain by integrated assessment of infiltration capacity, normal rainfall,
and its cumulative frequency.
Keywords Hard-rock  Aravalli  GIS  Rechargepotential  Modelling

C. Bhuiyan
School of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi,
Delhi 110 007, India
R. P. Singh (&)
Department of Physics, Computational Science and Engineering,
Chapman University, Hashinger, One University Drive,
Orange, CA 92866, USA
e-mail: rsingh@chapman.edu
C. Bhuiyan  W. A. Flugel
Friedrich Schiller University, 07743 Jena, Germany

Introduction
Ground water is a renewable resource subjected to periodic
replenishment primarily through precipitation. Recharge is
one of the key hydrological parameters for assessment,
budgeting, management, and modelling of ground water
resources. Although information and data regarding recharge
rate is vital for recharge assessment of any region, determination of this parameter is neither easy nor straightforward.
Various conventional techniques such as heat tracer test
(Stallman 1964; Lapham 1989; Constanz et al. 1994;
Ronan et al. 1998), active (Athavale and Rangarajan 1988;
Sharma 1989) and passive (Philips et al. 1988; Scanlon
1992; Cook et al. 1994) isotopic tracer tests, chloride balance technique (Eriksson and Khunakasem 1969; Sukhija
et al. 1988; Prudic 1994; Scanlon 2002), soilwater balance
approach (Finch 1998; Jyrkama et al. 2002; Kendy et al.
2003), and numerical watershed (rainfall/runoff) modelling
(Leavesley and Stannard 1995; Arnold et al. 2000; Flint
et al. 2002; Walker et al. 2002) have been widely used for
the assessment of ground water recharge. Relative advantages and limitations of various techniques have been
discussed by Scanlon (2002). Amongst different techniques, those focussing the saturated zone have the
capability to estimate actual recharge since they compute
actual change of ground water storage. Techniques based
on the ground water levels (Sophocleous 1991; Hall and
Risser 1993; Healy and Cook 2002; Crosbie et al. 2005) are
amongst the widely applied methods for estimating
recharge rates. This is likely because of the abundance of
ground water level data and the simplicity of the technique
in estimating recharge rates from temporal fluctuations or
spatial patterns of ground water levels.
Similar to recharge computation, a multitude of methods
have been used to delineate ground water potential zones.

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Common techniques include large-scale mapping of geologic and geomorphic features (Krishnamurthy et al. 1992;
Salama et al. 1994; Jaiswal et al. 2003), geophysical survey
(Stewart et al. 1983; Edet and Okereke 1997; Ezzedine et al.
1999; Shahid and Nath 2000; Pal and Majumdar 2001), and
borehole logging (Houston 2004; Majumdar and Pal 2005).
Borehole and resistivity surveys are expensive and extremely laborious particularly in hard-rock terrains. Remote
sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) are
being widely used for demarcation of ground water potential zones (Raj and Sinha 1989; Champatiray et al. 1993;
Gustafsson 1993; Saraf and Jain 1993; Chi and Lee 1994;
Mabee et al. 2002) and have gained popularity for availability of real world data. Combined use of remote sensing
and GIS has emerged as a better tool for hydrogeological
investigations (Saraf and Jain 1993). Remote sensing and
GIS techniques have been successfully used for the delineation of prospective artificial recharge sites (Saraf and
Choudhury 1998; Anbazhagan et al. 2005) and ground
water recharge zones (Saraf et al. 2004) in hard-rock areas.
However, almost all these studies have qualitatively marked
ground water potential zones by assignment of ranks and
weights to various hydrogeological parameters (Krishnamurthy et al. 1996; Saraf and Choudhury 1998; Shahid et al.
2000) and their subsequent integration, but bypassed computation of actual recharge. These approaches are totally
hypothetical and subjective, and hence unrealistic to compute actual aquifer-recharge or to evaluate rechargepotential of any region.
In the present study, lack of stream gauge data limits the
scope of stream water balance or channel water budget
modelling. Recharge estimation using tracer tests are
expensive and also unrealistic to represent study area with
large aerial extent and wide variations in soil, lithology,
topography, geomorphology, and land use. Numerical
models are based on many input parameters, which are
hardly available in close grids for the study area. On the
contrary, seasonal (pre- and post-monsoon) ground water
level data are available in close grids since people of Rajasthan including the Aravalli region are dependent mostly
on ground water resources. Limitations of using a constant
value of specific yield (Sophocleous 1985) and fluctuations
of ground water levels (Crosbie et al. 2005), have been
partially overcome by incorporating data and information
on soil (clay, sand, silt contents), lithology, and landform
units.
Modelling of recharge-potential of the region aims to
assess the relative capability for ground water replenishment with varying meteorological conditions. GIS is
capable of modelling water balance and water budget by
taking into account the spatial distribution of rainfall,
evapotranspiration and soil (Al-Abed et al. 2005). The
ability of GIS to handle, integrate, analyse, and model huge

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Environ Earth Sci (2009) 59:929938

volume of spatial and non-spatial data of a large area (ElKadi et al. 1994; Saraf et al. 2004) have encouraged us to
carry out a GIS-based ground water recharge-potential
modelling in the hard-rock terrain of the semi-arid Aravalli
region. The water level fluctuation (WLF) method is a postevent but realistic and direct method of recharge estimation
particularly for less-developed regions with limited data on
hydrological and hydraulic parameters. Therefore, using the
WLF method, a GIS-based attempt has been made to
develop a rainfall infiltration factor (RIF) technique, a coevent model for the estimation of recharge and rechargepotential of the Aravalli terrain. In the absence of sufficient
accurate data for various meteorological, hydrological, and
hydraulic parameters, modelling is carried out with the
assumptions: (1) negligible effect of evapotranspiration, (2)
zero base-flow, (3) no component of lateral flow, and
aquifer-recharge only through gravity flow.
The study area
Rajasthan, the largest state of India is situated in the northwestern part and is largely an arid region. The Aravalli, one
of the oldest mountain ranges of the world is situated in the
south-central part of the Rajasthan state. It separates the
eastern plain of the Malwa Plateau from the western Thar
Desert (Fig. 1). The present study is focused in major parts
of the Aravalli region including the entire Rajsamand and
Udaipur districts, parts of Sirohi, Pali, and Ajmer districts
of Rajasthan, and a small part of northern Gujarat. The
study area in total comprises approximately 25,000 km2
in between latitudes N23300 N26180 and longitudes
E72240 E74360 .
The chief hydrogeological formations include weathered
and fractured granite, granite-gneiss, calc-gneiss, quartzite,
phyllites, and calc-biotitic-schist. The carbonate rocks are
mainly dolomite, marble and limestone. In the northern and
the southern parts of the terrain, folded strata dip mostly
towards the west while in the eastern, central, and western
parts beds are easternly dipping. Elevation in the region
varies within 2001,700 m; however, the mean altitude
varies within 400600 m above the mean sea level.
Landforms in the Aravalli region are both of erosional
and depositional in origin. The granitic hills and mounds,
as well as quartzite ridges and valleys are results of nonuniform aeolian erosion. The ridges are composed of
resistant rocks such as, quartzites, conglomerates, and grits;
while valleys have developed by weathering of less resistant rocks such as, phyllites, schists, and gneisses. The
other important morphological units are pediments and
buried pediments, which are present all over the terrain.
Valley fills and alluvium plains are mostly confined around
the streams and channels. The entire Aravalli region is
covered by crenulations of drainage channels that are dry

Environ Earth Sci (2009) 59:929938

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Fig. 1 The study area location:


a India with elevation range,
b Rajasthan with physiographic
regions, c Landsat TM FCC
(bands 421) of the Aravalli
region

for most time of the year. The drainage network and pattern
of this province are largely controlled by the topography,
relief, lithology, morphology, and geological structures
(DST 1994; Sen 2002).
More than 90% of annual rainfall in Rajasthan including
the Aravalli region occur during monsoon season (June
September). Rainfall distribution varies spatially in different parts of the region, and temporally at the same place.
Evapotranspiration also varies seasonally and spatially
depending upon land use, vegetation, and soil moisture.
Water resources in this semi-arid region are under control of
the monsoon. The ground water conditions of this region
vary from place to place due to variations in soil, lithology,
land use, geomorphology, topography, and climate. Water
table in the Aravalli terrain has been found to mimic the
land-surface topography. The normal water table depth
varies in different lithologic domains. Water level fluctuates
seasonally in all rocks owing to recharge and extraction.

Data and methodology


Database used
In the present study, monsoon-rainfall (JuneSeptember)
data of 35 rain-gauge stations since 1966, and pre-monsoon

and post-monsoon ground water levels of 475 wells for the


period 19842003 have been collected from Ground Water
Department, Rajasthan. Although all the 475 wells are
located within the study area, out of 35 rain-gauge stations,
21 stations fall within the study area and 14 stations are
situated around the study area. Pre- and post-monsoon
ground water levels are measured in late May and late
October to early November (1 month before and after the
monsoon), respectively. In order to carry out spatial analysis,
maps of rain-gauge stations and well locations have been
prepared using geographic coordinates and spatial analyst
extension of the Arc View 3.2a GIS software. Spline interpolation technique with 0.1 tension has been used to
generate grid maps of rainfall and water table fluctuations.
For interpolation of point values, specified number of points,
or optionally all points within a specified radius, can be used
to determine the value of nearby locations. Based on a general perception about rainfall in arid and semi-arid regions,
30 km is considered as the limit of influence of a rain-gauge.
On an average, four rain gauges are located within 30 km
distance from one another in and around the Aravalli region.
Therefore, rainfall in the intermediate and surrounding area
was obtained through interpolation of four rain gauges. Since
ground water table shows a high spatial continuity (Meijerink et al. 1994), for interpolation of water table fluctuation,
10 nearest well points have been considered.

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Table 1 Recommended norms for specific yield of different rocks


(after CGWB 1997), and percent added for soil type and landform
classes
Terrain characteristics

Specific yield (%)


Recommended Additional

Alluvial areas
Sandy alluvium

16.0

Silty alluvium

10.0

Clayey alluvium

6.0

Weathered granite, gneiss, and schist


with low clay content

3.0

Weathered granite, gneiss, and schist


with significant clay

1.5

Weathered or vesicular, jointed basalt

2.0

Hard-rock areas

Laterite

2.5

Sandstone

3.0

Quartzite

1.5

Limestone

2.0

Karstified limestone

8.0

Phyllite and shale

1.5

Massive poorly fractures rock

0.3

Sandy soil

2.0

Loamy soil

1.5

Clay soil

0.0

Rocky-skeletal soil

1.0

Soil types

Landform classes
Valley fills

2.0

Flood plains

2.0

Pediments

1.0

Buried pediments

1.5

For places lacking site-specific data on specific yield,


norms for different rocks (Table 1) have been considered,
which are developed using pumping tests at similar
hydrogeological conditions (CGWB 1997). Specific yield
is a property of aquifer materials, i.e. of the saturated zone.
At some places in the Aravalli terrain, aquifers are very
shallow (25 m below the ground surface). Therefore,
based on the borehole litholog data, values have been
added to the specific yield (percent) for locations where
soil and/or weathered zone constitute parts of the saturated
zone governing aquifer-recharge. Thus, spatial variation of
specific yield within the same rock formation is addressed.
Based on the Tritium-based recharge study carried out in
different parts of India, Rangarajan and Athavale (2000)
have found that evaporation is not effective below 0.6 m
depth in semi-arid hard-rocks in India. Therefore, waterloss from aquifers due to evapotranspiration is not
considered.

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Computation of ground water recharge


Actual recharge was empirically computed through two
different approachesWLF and RIF methods (CGWB
1997). Normal recharge by monsoon-rainfall is commonly
computed by the WLF method, based on the ground water
balance equation:
Input  Output Storage change

where input and output refers, respectively to recharge


and discharge by any means.
In Aravalli region like many other arid and semi-arid
regions where the components like base-flow into streams,
recharge from streams into aquifer, and net ground water
inflow across the boundary are almost negligible, the actual
ground water recharge (RG) during the monsoon season
may be written as:
RG S DG

where S ground water storage change and DG gross ground


water draft.
From the Tritium-based recharge estimation (Rangarajan and Athavale 2000), it is inferred that evaporation is not
effective below 0.6 m depth in semi-arid hard-rock areas.
Therefore, water-loss due to evapotranspiration is not
considered in the present study. Digital map of lithology is
prepared and reclassified using maps of the Geological
Survey of India (GSI 1995a, b). In the present study, for
places lacking site-specific pumping-test data, norms for
different hydrogeological areas (Table 1) have been used,
which are developed through tests at similar hydrogeological conditions (CGWB 1997). Again, the ground water
storage change can be computed as:
S Mean seasonal water  table fluctuation h
 Specific yield Sy

Combining Eqs. 2 and 3, possible recharge can be


expressed as:
R RG h  Sy DG

Equation 4 gives the available recharge from rainfall as


well as from other sources during that season. The recharge
components from other sources include recharge from
recycled water from irrigation, recharge from tanks, ponds,
and reservoirs.
Normal seasonal rainfall recharge is the mean or average
of maximum years (3050 years), depending upon availability of data. The normalisation procedure requires a set
of pairs of data of recharge and associated rainfall. Low
rainfall and excessive withdrawal result in pre- to postmonsoon decline of water table during droughts. To
eliminate the effects of drought, only years of positive
WLFs (pre- to post-monsoon rise) are considered for

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normalisation and for normal recharge estimation. Therefore, if Rwlf is the rainfall recharge computed using the
WLF method, the recharge from rainfall alone can be
expressed as:
Rwlf RG  Rir  Rwc  RT
h  Sy DG  RO

where Rwlf rainfall recharge estimated for a particular nondrought year, h rise in ground water level (positive fluctuation) in the monsoon season for that particular year, Sy
specific yield, DG gross ground water draft in the monsoon
season for the particular year, Rir recharge through returnflow from ground water irrigation in the monsoon season
for that year, Rwc recharge from water conservation structures like canals and check dams in the monsoon season for
that particular year, RT recharge from tanks and ponds in
the monsoon season for that year, RO = Rir ? Rwc ? RT
recharge from other sources.

The ratio between the two produces the distributed map of


correction factor (CF) for optimisation of RIF. Thus,
CF Rwlf =Rrif

RIF RIFi  CF 2

Model validation
The efficiency and success of a model is dependent on the
actual verification and validation through real data and
smaller the difference higher is the efficiency of the model. In
order to validate the present model, rainfall recharge has
been computed for the successive years of 19962000, using
WLF and RIF methods based on recorded rainfall and ground
water level data, and their difference [(Rwlf Rrif)/Rrif] are
computed year wise. A regional scale model is considered
efficient if the differences in recharge by two methods vary
within 20%the acceptable range (CGWB 1997).
Recharge-potential

Rainfall infiltration factor (RIF)


Again, recharge can be calculated using the RIF method as:
Rrif r  RIF

where Rrif rainfall recharge computed by RIF method, r


rainfall, RIF rainfall infiltration factor.
Rainfall infiltration rate represents the infiltration factor
values governed by infiltration capacity of the unsaturated
zone. These values are obtained from in situ measurements
through tritium-injection method (Rangarajan and Athavale
2000), chloride balance method, subsurface temperature
profiling, etc. In the absence of site-specific values, the
norms and guidelines developed by the Central Ground
Water Board (CGWB 1997), based on measurements with
similar hydrogeologic units can be used.
No data of infiltration capacity are available for the
present study area, and the recommended norms (CGWB
1997) are found to be inadequate and non-representative of
the entire study area, the RIF values are computed by
dividing rainfall recharge obtained through the WLF
method by normal rainfall. In order to avoid the effect of
drought, rainfall data only of the years of positive fluctuations have been selected. Therefore, by comparing Eqs. 5
and 6, infiltration factor has been calculated as:
RIFi Rwlf =r h  Sy DG  RO =r

where RIFi initial value of rainfall infiltration factor.


The mean rainfall recharge is computed using both WLF
and RIF methods using data for all the years 19842003. In
order to estimate the difference, the grid-map of mean
monsoonal recharge by WLF method is divided by the one
computed using RIF method through the grid-map of RIFi.

Climate has a great influence on the recharge-potential


(Singhal and Gupta 2001). Seasonal fluctuation of water
table in different aquifers of the Aravalli region is found to
bear a strong association (R2 = 0.75) with monsoon-rainfall (Fig. 2). However, although water level rises with
higher rainfall in the same well, higher rainfall does not
ensure higher recharge all over the terrain. The spatiotemporal variation of recharge-potential of the terrain is
also governed by normal (long-term average) rainfall and
its frequency, beside the infiltration capacity. A region may
have a very high infiltration capacity but if is associated
with poor rainfall or infrequent high rainfall, recharge will
be either negligible or occasional. Similar case also
observed if seasonal rainfall and its frequency are high but
infiltration coefficient is very small. Therefore, ground
water recharge-potential (RP) is evaluated on the basis of
equal weight to RIF, normal rainfall (rN) and its cumulative
frequency (fC) considering their equal importance. Thus,
RP RIF  rN  fC

10

Results and discussion


Specific yield and mean monsoonal recharge
Specific yield of the Aravalli terrain varies within 0.010
0.075, in major parts the specific yield is found in the range
of 0.0100.015 (Fig. 3). Slightly higher values ([0.020) of
specific yield are found in the northern parts due to the
presence of sandy soil, in some eastern and western parts
which cover with carbonate rocks, and sandy beds of valley
fills in some discrete parts. The mean monsoonal recharge

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Fig. 2 Seasonal fluctuation of


water table in response to
monsoon-rainfall in the Aravalli
terrain during 19842003

some small areas only. The percentage of difference


between Rwlf and Rrif mostly varies from -2 to ?19. The
ratio of Rwlf and Rrif gives an estimate of difference
between the two, and is used as a CF for RIF.
Rainfall infiltration factor (RIF)
Rainfall infiltration factor is computed using Eqs. 79. The
initial RIF is found in the range 0.010.75. Low values
(0.010.05) are present in the eastern and some southern
and western parts; slightly higher values (0.150.25) are
found in the northern and central parts. Some locations in
the northern and western parts show variations in the range
0.250.5, whereas very high values (0.50.75) are found
with valley fills and alluvial plains. The initial RIF is
optimised by multiplying with the CF to generate the final
distribution of RIF (Fig. 4).

Fig. 3 A map showing distributed specific yield ranges in the


Aravalli region based on geology

is computed through the WLF method (Rwlf) using mean


fluctuation of water level in wells and specific yield and
also through the RIF method (Rrif) using mean monsoonal
rainfall and RIFi during 19842003. Following the norms
(CGWB 1997), rocky hills are excluded during computation of ground water recharge. Comparison has shown that
aquifer-recharge is less than 50 mm of in major parts of the
south-eastern and south-central Aravalli region. Most parts
of the eastern, western, northern, and central parts of
Aravalli region receive 50100 mm of water for aquiferrecharge. Recharge in the alluvial plains and sandy soils in
the northern and western parts varies from 100 to 500 mm,
whereas in the discrete valley fills along stream channels
natural ground water recharge varies above 500 mm.
Minor difference is observed in the spatial distribution of
seasonal recharge computed through WLF and RIF methods. However, the difference is small and restricted to

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Fig. 4 Distributed rainfall infiltration factor (RIF)

Environ Earth Sci (2009) 59:929938

The distribution of RIF demarcates the regions with very


low infiltration capacity in the south of the Aravalli, particularly in south-eastern and south-western parts. Major
parts of western and southern Aravalli region have RIF in
the range 0.050.1. The central and northern parts show
RIF in the range 0.150.25, relatively higher RIF (0.25
0.4) is observed in the northern Aravalli due to the presence of sandy alluvial and flood plains. Similar infiltration
capacity is found also along the narrow valley fills in some
eastern, western and central parts. Along the alluviumenriched plains in the northern and the western Aravalli,
infiltration capacity is found to be very high ([0.4) along
the valley fills, flood plains and sandy gravel beds of stream
channels. High porosity, permeability, and gentle slop are
responsible for such high infiltration capacity. Very high
(4045% of rainfall) recharge due to high permeability
of surface is also reported from other semi-arid regions
(Al-Saafin et al. 1990; Khair and Haddad 1993).
Comparison, estimation and validation
For all the 5 years (19962000), differences between
recharge values computed by the WLF and the RIF
methods vary in the range -50 to ?50 mm (Fig. 5) and in
terms of percentage [(Rwlf Rrif)/Rrif] vary mostly within
20% of Rrif. In most parts of the region, recharge value by
the RIF method is found to be very close to those computed
by the WLF method. The minimum difference of 2% is
found in the central parts and maximum (37%) in some
small parts of the western and south-western Aravalli.
During 19961998 (non-drought years), RIF method
overestimates recharge, whereas in the consecutive drought
years 1999 and 2000, natural recharge is underestimated in

Fig. 5 Difference in monsoon-recharge computed by WLF and RIF


methods

935

most parts of the region in comparison to that computed by


the WLF method. The difference in recharge is probably
due to coarse resolution of data (average in lithological
units under administrative blocks) for various components
(discharge, draft, recharge from irrigation, ponds, tanks,
etc.) used in the WLF method.
The added advantage of the RIF method is that once the
distributed infiltration coefficients are correctly evaluated,
it can be used to estimate recharge during the non-monsoon
season. For computation of seasonal recharge, WLF
method requires actual water level data, which are not
routinely available; RIF method can compute recharge for
every rainfall event, and seasonal recharge estimation
needs only summing up of computed daily recharge.
Ground water recharge-potential
Ground water recharge-potential of the Aravalli region is
evaluated on the basis of equal weight to the RIF, amount of
normal rainfall (Fig. 6a) and its cumulative frequency
(Fig. 6b). Large variation in recharge-potential is found
from place to place due to large variations of the aforesaid
controlling parameters (Fig. 7). Recharge-potential is classified in a decimal scale ranging from 0.00 to 1.00. It is
lowest (B0.03) at the south-western flank, and at discrete
pockets in the eastern, western, and southern locations.
Major parts of the southern, western, and central Aravalli
consisting of the intermontane valleys display slightly
higher recharge-potential (0.030.075). The plains in
northern and the central Aravalli have higher rechargepotential in the range of 0.0750.12. Relatively higher
recharge-potential (0.120.225) is observed in some
northern, eastern, and western pockets owing to sandy and
coarse loamy soils. Along narrow stream channels and flood
plains, recharge-potential is found to be higher (0.225
0.45). In arid alluvial-valley regions, recharge is usually
focused in channels of ephemeral streams of topographic
lows contrary to humid regions, where recharge generally
occurs in topographic highs and discharge in topographic
lows (Scanlon 2002). The highest recharge-potential (0.6
1.0) is found along valley fills, dried stream channels,
alluvial and flood plains, scattered mainly in east-central
and western parts of the Aravalli. Valley fills associated
with lineaments are highly prospecting area for ground
water extraction (Krishnamurthy and Srinivas 1995). Dry
stream channels, alluvial plains, flood plains, and valley fills
with very high ground water recharge-potential are found to
be distributed throughout the region, particularly in the
western and northern parts (Fig. 7). Considering population
and agricultural growth, and rapid urbanisation, rechargepotential of the Aravalli region is computed including the
hills so that unutilised zones and pockets with higher
recharge-potential can be utilised in future. Within these

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Fig. 6 a Well locations, rain


gauges, and normal monsoonal
rainfall in the Aravalli terrain
during 19662003 and b
Cumulative frequency of
normal and above-normal
monsoonal rainfall in the
Aravalli terrain

Fig. 7 Spatial variation of recharge-potential in different parts of the


Aravalli terrain

zones of high recharge-potential, wells with higher yield


could be targeted for safe extraction of ground water, particularly during summer and droughts.

Conclusions
The distributed RIF is found to varying in the range 0.01
0.75; extremely high RIF values [ 0.5 are found to be
associated mainly with the sandy gravel bed of dry channels, valley fills, alluvial, and flood plains. Since the
difference in recharge computed by the RIF and WLF
methods are found to be small, the model is considered
acceptable for natural recharge computation. The RIF

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model can compute ground water recharge for even total


weekly or monthly rainfall data and thus computation of
seasonal recharge needs only summation of daily recharge.
Significant spatial variations of ground water recharge is
found in the Aravalli region owing to variations in rainfall
infiltration capacity. Places with higher infiltration capacity
experience higher recharge even if rainfall is below normal, whereas major parts of the Aravalli region with low
infiltration capacity obtain a reasonably good recharge only
when the rainfall is above normal. Ground water rechargepotential in any area is controlled by infiltration capacity,
amount of normal rainfall, and its cumulative frequency.
Recharge-potential is found to be highest along the valley
fills, dried stream channels, alluvial plains, and flood
plains, which are located mainly in the east-central and
western parts of the Aravalli region.
The ground water recharge-potential model used in the
present study is very simple and useful for undeveloped
regions where limited data on hydrological and hydraulic
parameters are available. The present study demonstrates
that even with limited data, a GIS-based modelling using
the WLF and RIF methods can determine the distributed
infiltration coefficients of a region, and can be used in
demarcation of recharge-potential zones. The RIF values
computed are dependent on the specific yield values used
in the WLF method, which is difficult to get at the regional
scales. Hence, caution should be taken during selection of
specific yield values. The lateral flow of ground water is
not considered in the RIF model due to the uneven
topography of the region. The present results can be
improved further, if sufficient ground data of stream flow
and actual evapotranspiration are made available, which is
rather difficult in hard-rock terrain like the Aravalli region.
Acknowledgments The authors take this opportunity to express
their sincere thanks to Dr. S. M. Pandey, ex-chief geophysicist of

Environ Earth Sci (2009) 59:929938


Ground Water Department, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, for his generous help
during collection of hydrological and meteorological data. A part of
this work was carried out by the first author at FSU Jena, Germany
through the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Fellowship. We are grateful to the anonymous Reviewer for his comments/
suggestions. The authors are grateful to Dr. Menas Kafatos for his
editorial corrections and suggestions.

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