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

Muhammad Basharat

Abstract


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.

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References


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