Spatial and Temporal Appraisal of Groundwater Depth and Quality in LBDC Command-Issues and Options

Muhammad Basharat


Pakistan’s Irrigation system is more than a century old, the distribution system within any canal command is designed to distribute the canal water equitably ignoring rainfall patterns and underlying groundwater resources. Now, the groundwater contribution in meeting crop water requirement has even crossed the canal water supply in the existing scenario of increased cropping intensities. The underground reservoir that was recharged during 1st half of the 20th century by newly built irrigation system with low cropping intensities is now being overexploited due to increased cropping intensity. So, the current scenario has become now a major challenge in terms of its sustainability. In this context, groundwater elevation, depth and quality have been analyzed in space and time for Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC) command in Punjab, Pakistan. Tail end of the command is facing severe groundwater depletion rates, whereas, in certain parts, groundwater quality deterioration has also been detected and may pose a threat for sustainable irrigated agriculture. The paper describes the water quality and delineates the areas where saline water is present in the form of zones and depths. Also, possible rates and mechanisms of saline intrusion within the aquifer are described. Possible management alternatives for integration of canal and groundwater are discussed for providing relief to badly hit areas in terms of deeper depths and deteriorating groundwater quality.

Full Text:



PIES, 2001. Punjab private sector groundwater development project – Final project impact evaluation report. MM Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. In association with Mott MacDonald Limited.

Shakir, AS., Rehman H., Khan N M., and Qazi AU. 2011. Impact of Canal Water Shortages on Groundwater in the Lower Bari Doab Canal System in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Engineering & Applied Sciences. 9 (87-97).

Shah T., 2006. Groundwater and Human Development: Challenges and Opportunities in Livelihoods and Environments. In; Proceedings of IWMI-ITP-NIH International Workshop on “Creating Synergy between Groundwater Research and Management in South and Southeast Asia” 8-9 February 2005, India.

Jurriens R., Mollinga PP. 1996. Scarcity by design: protective irrigation in India and Pakistan, ICID Journal 45(2): 31-53.

Ahmad N., 1995. Groundwater Resources of Pakistan (Revised), 16B/2 Gulberg-III, Lahore.

NESPAK/SGI. 1991. Contribution of Private Tubewells in the Development of Water Potential. National Engineering Services of Pakistan and Special Group Inc., Lahore.

Steenbergen Van F. and Olienmans W. 1997, “Groundwater resources management in Pakistan” In: ILRI Workshop: Groundwater Management: Sharing Responsibilities for an open access Resource, Proceedings of the Wageningen Water Workshop.

Halcrow, 2006. Punjab irrigated agriculture development sector project, Final report Annex 5 – Groundwater management. Asian Development Bank TA-4642-PAK.

Basharat M. and Tariq A. R, 2012. Spatial climatic variability and its impact on irrigated hydrology in a canal command. Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, issue No. 37-8.

WAPDA, Hydrogeological Data of Bari Doab, Volume-1, Basic Data Release No. 1 by Directorate General of Hydrogeology, WAPDA, Lahore, 1980.

Unites States Department of the Interior, 1967. Geological Survey, Water Supply Paper 1608- H, Plate 6, 1967.

Pakistan Meteorological Department, 2006. Agrometeorological Bulletin of Pakistan for June 2006, published by National Agromet Centre of PMD, Islamabad, Pakistan.

NESPAK. 2005. Punjab irrigated agriculture development sector project. Water and agricultural sector project. Water and agricultural studies. LBDC Command.

NESPAK-NDC-AHT 1995, Feasibility Study Second Irrigation and Drainage Sukh Beas/LBDC Project - Final Report, Volume II_ Annex 2 – Groundwater.

Yunus, M. 1977. Water quality in the Indus Plains. Proceedings of Water Management for Agriculture (EXXON seminar), November 15- 17, 1977, Lahore, Pakistan.

Upadhyay, B. 2004. Gender roles and multiple uses of water in North Gujarat. Working Paper 70. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

Punjab Development Statistics, 2010. Bureau of Statistics, Government of the Punjab, Lahore.

Greenaman D. W., Swarzenski W. V. and Bennett G. D., 1967. “Groundwater Hydrology of the Punjab, West Pakistan with emphasis on problems caused by canal irrigation. West Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority, WASID Bulletin 6.

Hussain A. and Hamid A., 1964. Quality of groundwater in Bari Doab West Pakistan: Water and Power Development Authority, Water and Soils Investigation Division, Basic Data Release No. 10.

Latif, M. 2007, “Spatial productivity along a canal irrigation system in Pakistan”, Journal of Irrigation and Drainage, 56 (5), pp:509-521.

Latif, M. and M Z Ahmad. 2009. Groundwater and soil salinity variations in a canal command area in Pakistan. Irrigation and Drainage 58: 456-468.

Copyright (c) 2016 Muhammad Basharat

Powered By KICS