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N. Vinayachandran Scientist C


BHUJAL BHAVAN NH-IV, FARIDABAD HARYANA- 121 001 TEL: 0129-12419075 FAX: 0129-2142524



1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 Introduction Rainfall and climate Geomorphology and soil types Ground water scenario Groundwater management strategy Groundwater related issues and problems Awareness and training activity Areas notified by CGWB/SGWA Recommendations

List of Figures
Figure No 1 2 3 4 5 6 Description Index Map of Alappuzha District, Kerala state Hydrogeology of Alappuzha District Pre monsoon Depth to Water level map (April 2006) Post monsoon Depth to Water level map (Nov 2006) Stage of Ground water development - Alappuzha District Recommended feasible ground water development structures


Sl No. 1.



GENERAL INFORMATION i) Geographical area (Sq km) ii) Administrative Divisions (As on 31-03-2007) Number of Tehsil/Block Number of Panchayat GEOMORPHOLOGY Major physiographic units Major Drainages LAND USE (Hectares) a) Forest area b) Net area sown c) Cultivable area MAJOR SOIL TYPES

1414 6/12 73


Coastal plain and Mid land Pamba and its tributaries


Nil 94328 3356 Coastal Alluvium Riverine Alluvium Brown hydromorphic soil Lateritic soil Oil seeds 60569 Paddy 37740 Tapioca 4843 Vegetables 2427 Arecanut 8921 Spices 5147





AREA IRRIGATED BY DIFFERENT SOURCES(Hectares) Wells (Dug wells &Tube wells / Bore wells) Tanks / Ponds Canals Other Sources Net Irrigated area (Hectares) 2400 11900 4800 21200 40300



40 33

Archaean crystalline formation (Charnockite, gneiss), Tertiary sedimentary formation, Sub-Recent laterite and Recent Alluvium Weathered and fractured crystalline formations, Tertiary sedimentary formation, Sub-Recent laterite and Recent Alluvium 0.72 to 12.49 mbgl 0.08 to 6.30 mbgl


HYDROGEOLOGY Major Water bearing formation

Depth to water level (Pre-monsoon, April 2006) Depth to water level (Post-monsoon, Nov. 2006) Long term water level trend in 10 years(1997-2006) in m/yr Falling trend Rising trend

No conspicuous change in trend in phreatic aquifers. Tertiary aquifers show a falling trend in the range of 0.05 to 0.28 m/year.


GROUND WATER EXPLORATION BY CGWB (As on 31-03-2007) No. of wells drilled (EW, OW, PZ, SH, Total) Depth Range (m) Discharge (m3/hr) Storativity(S) Transmissivity (m2/day)

EW -19, OW 3, Pz -18, SH 24. Total - 64 30-600 6 -120 (Tertiary aquifer) 1.2 X 10-3 to 4.4 X 10-3 (Tertiary aquifer) 6 - 3856


GROUND WATER QUALITY Presence of chemical constituents more than permissible limits(e.g. EC, F, As, Fe)

Quality good. Major chemical constituents lie within the permissible limits. Fluoride excess in certain tube wells.


DYNAMIC GROUNDWATER RESOURCES (2004) in MCM Annual Replenishable Ground Water Resources Net Annual Groundwater Draft Projected demand for Domestic and Industrial Uses up to 2025 Stage of Ground Water Development, % AWARENESS AND TRAINING ACTIVITY Training Programme organized Date Place No. of Participants GROUND WATER CONTROL AND REGULATION Number of Over Exploited blocks Number of Critical blocks Number of blocks notified MAJOR GROUND WATER PROBLEMS AND ISSUES

419.46 128.65 92.37 30.66


21st December 2005 Alappuzha 100


Nil Nil Nil Decline in water level in Tertiary aquifers, ground water quality deterioration along tidal inlets and anthropogenic pollution




Alappuzha(Alleppey) is one of the well-developed coastal districts in southern part of Kerala State covering an area of 1,414 and is the smallest district accounting 3.64% of the area of the State. It is surrounded by Lakshadweep sea on the west, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts in the east, Kollam district in the south and Ernakulam district in the north. The district has 6 taluks viz. Sherthalai, Ambalappuzha, Kuttanad, Karthikapally, Chengannur and Mavelikara which comprises 12 blocks, 71 panchayats and 5 municipalities. The administrative divisions of the district are shown in Figure 1. The district head quarter is well connected by good roads and rail. The National Highway NH-47, the Main Central road (M.C road) and the Delhi - Mumbai Trivandrum broad-gauge line are passing through this district. Alappuzha town is crisscrossed by navigable canals that are connected to Cochin in the north and other important towns in the east. Kuttanad, also known as the rice bowl of Kerala constitutes a major part of the district. Alappuzha is well known for its coir industry with innumerable outlets for various finished coir products.

The district has a population of 21, 05,349 persons as per 2001 census. The population density is 1489 persons/, the highest among all the districts of the State. The district has a total of 2611 industries mostly medium and small scale sectors. Out of these 769 are agro based, 297 forest, 7 animal husbandry, 214 chemical. Drainage Alappuzha district is mainly drained by Pamba river and its tributaries viz. Achankovil and Manimala rivers. The Pamba river drains over an area of 804 of the district and form a deltaic region skirting the south eastern, southern and south western fringes of Vembanad lake. The Manimala river enters the Kuttanad area at Thondara and confluences with

Pamba river at Neerettupuram. Achancovil Ar enters Kuttanad at Pandalam and joins Pamba river at Veeyapuram. Vembanad lake, the largest back water in the State lies on the north eastern part of the district separating Alappuzha from Kottayam district.

There are no major irrigation projects in Alappuzha district. However, about 19 in the southwestern part of the district is benefited by the Pamba Irrigation Project. Minor and lift irrigation projects irrigate an area of about 181 sq. km. The source-wise data on irrigation are given in Table1. Table 1: Source-wise area under irrigation in Alappuzha district Sl.No 1. 2 3 4 Source Canal Irrigation Tank Well Irrigation Other sources Total Net area irrigated, km2 48 119.0 24.0 212 403 % area of Alappuzha district 1.29 12.80 0.86 17.50 32.45

(Source: Bureau of Economics & Statistics Department, Govt. Kerala, Trivandrum)

A perusal of the table reveals that canal irrigation has increased to 48 from 18.29 during 1989. Area irrigated using well and tank as source also considerably increased in the last one decade.

Studies carried out by CGWB

Groundwater resources along the coast in the district was first studied as part of the Systematic hydrogeological studies carried out by erstwhile

Groundwater Division of

Geological Survey of India, Southern Region,

Hyderabad during the years 1970-'71 and 1971-'72. ] Exploratory drilling operations in the coastal plains were started by Exploratory Tube Well Organization, Govt. of India during the fifties itself. CGWB continued

exploration and tube wells were constructed tapping potential aquifers in the Tertiary formations during the period between 1973 and 82.

The Central Ground Water Board under its SIDA assisted Coastal Kerala Groundwater Project carried out detailed hydrogeological surveys and exploratory drilling during 1983-'88. Chemical quality of groundwater in shallow and deep aquifers was also studied in detail under this project.

Under The World Bank Assisted Hydrology Project (1996-2000) the existing infrastructure on groundwater regime monitoring was strengthened. CGWB and GWD, Govt. of Kerala jointly implemented the groundwater component of Hydrology Project. The ultimate objective of Hydrology Project was to establish a functional Hydrologic Information System where Hydrogeological data can be generated, collected, processed, stored and retrieved for various user agencies. CGWB has been monitoring water level from Ground Water Monitoring Wells (GWMW) for the last 30 years which comprises dug wells tapping phreatic aquifers and piezometers tapping semi-confined to confined aquifers. 2.0 CLIMATE AND RAINFALL The district has a tropical humid climate with an oppressive summer and plentiful seasonal rainfall. The period from March to the end of May is the hot season. This is followed by the southwest monsoon season, which continues till the end of September. During October and major part of November southwest monsoon retreats giving place to the northeast monsoon, and the rainfall up to December is associated with northeast monsoon season.

The district receives an average of 2965.4 mm as the normal rainfall. Out of this, southwest monsoon contributes the major part of the annual rainfall. The southwest monsoon season from June to September contributes nearly 60.3% of the annual rainfall. This is followed by the northeast monsoon season from October to December, which contributes about 20.9% of the annual rainfall, and the balance 18.8% is accounted for January to May months. Climatology The district has got two well equipped observatories at Kayamkulam and Alappuzha maintained by CPCRI and IMD respectively. 8

Generally March and April months are hottest and December and January months are coldest. At Alappuzha the maximum temperature ranges from 28.8 to 32.7C whereas the minimum temperature ranges from 22.6 to 25.5C. The average annual maximum temperature is 30.7C and the average annual minimum temperature is 23.9 C. Wind The wind is predominantly from east and northeast during morning hours and during the evening hours the predominant wind direction is from west and northwest. The wind speed is low in Kayamkulam. The wind speed is high during May (13.6 kmph) at Alappuzha.

The humidity is higher during the monsoon period, June to September. It is around 87% at Alappuzha and 84% at Kayamkulam. All through the year, the humidity is high during the morning hours.

3.0 GEOMORPHOLOGY AND SOIL TYPES A major part of the district is coastal plains. The general elevation of the area is less than 6 m above mean sea level with some parts of the area below mean sea level in the range of 1-2 m. Typical coastal geomorphic features such as beaches, shore platforms, spit and bars, beach ridges etc are seen. A small part of the district in the southeast forms part of mid land hard rocks. The area east and southeast of Alappuzha town comprising 409 is known as Kuttanad region. It represents low-lying deltaic region characterised by wet lands. The beach ridges are suggestive of marine regression. Beach is very narrow and straight. The absence of extensive tidal plain and the intensive coastal erosion may be indicative of neo-tectonic activity. The beach between Purakkad and Trikkunnappuzha is under going active erosion. 3.1 Soils 9

On the basis of morphological and physico-chemical properties, the Soil Survey Division of Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Kerala have classified the soils of the district into four types viz. (1) Coastal alluvium (Entisols), (2) Riverine Alluvium (Inceptisols) (3) Brown hypidimorphic soil (Alfisols) and (4) Lateritic soil (Oxisols). Coastal Alluvium (Entisols) These soils are seen along the western parts of the district all along the coast and have been developed from recent marine and estuarine deposits. The texture is

dominated by sand fraction and is extensively drained with very high permeability. These soils have low content of organic matter and of low fertility level.


Riverine alluvium (Inceptisols) These soils occur mostly in the central pediplains and eastern parts of the area along the banks of Pamba river and its tributaries and show wide variation in their physico-chemical properties depending on the nature of alluvium that is deposited and characteristics of the catchment area through which the river flows. They are very deep soils with surface textures ranging from sandy loam to clayey loam and moderately supplied with organic matter like nitrogen and potassium.

Brown hydromorphic soil (Alfisols) These are mostly confined in the western low-lying areas of the district along the coast. These soils have been formed as a result of transportation and sedimentation of material from the adjoining hill slopes and also through deposition by rivers and exhibit wide variation in their physical and chemical properties. They are moderately supplied with organic matter like nitrogen, potassium and deficient in lime and phosphate. Lateritic soil (Oxisols) The laterite soil is the resultant of weathering process of Tertiary and Crystalline rocks under tropical humid conditions and is seen in the south-eastern part of the district. Heavy rainfall and temperature prevalent in the area are conducive to the process of formation of this soil type and have been formed by leaching of base and silica from the original parent rock with accumulation of oxides of iron and aluminum. They are poor in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and low in bases. The organic content is also low and is generally acidic with pH ranging from 5.0 to 6.0.


4.0 GROUNDWATER SCENARIO 4.1. Hydrogeology Alappuzha district consists of Coastal alluvium comprising of sand and clay along the coastal region and flood plain deposits in Kuttanad region. Residual laterite

formations are encountered in south-eastern parts of the district and Granites are encountered in and around Chengannur area. The Charnockite, Khondalite and Granites form the basement. Charnockites and Khondalites are encountered at depth. They are overlain by Tertiaries. The laterite/alluvial sediments overlay the Tertiaries. Alappuzha is the only district in Kerala where domestic water requirement is met from groundwater source on a large scale. Requirements for drinking water supply source are met with from a large number of tube wells. The major abstraction of groundwater is from Tertiary sedimentary formation. Hydrogeology of various formations is discussed in the following paragraphs and the hydrogeological map of the district is presented in Figure 2. Groundwater in crystalline formations The crystalline formation occurs in the southeastern part of the district mostly capped by thick laterite formation. The groundwater occurs under phreatic and semiconfined conditions in the crystallines. Exploratory drillings by CGWB shows low potential fractures (yield range of about 60-120 lpm) in this part of the crystalline formation. Groundwater in Tertiary formations The Tertiary formations constitute the major aquifer in Kuttanad and coastal area with total thickness of sediments range from 90.0 to more than 600 m covering extensive area. They are underlain by crystalline basement and overlain by laterite and unconsolidated formations.

a. Groundwater in Alleppey bed


The bottom most unit of Tertiary sedimentary formations, the Alleppey bed, comprising of highly carbonaceous clay with intercalations of sand was encountered in tube wells at Trikunnapuzha below 522 m bgl and at Kottaram below 299 m bgl. The formation water is brackish in quality as revealed by electrical logging and hence no wells were constructed tapping this formation. b. Groundwater in Vaikom bed Vaikom bed overlying the Alleppey bed with thickness varying from 25 to 238 m is the highly potential aquifer in the Tertiary formation of the district. They comprise of gravel, coarse sand, clay and seams of lignite. They are exposed in southeastern part of the district in the midland area and are highly lateritised at the surface. The thickness of the granular zones tapped by the tube wells constructed in this aquifer ranges between 5 and 210 m with discharges in the range of 11 to 96 m3/hr. However, the water from Vaikom aquifer in Kuttanad region and in coastal zone west of Vembanad lake is more mineralized. Some of the tube wells with high discharge of 57.6 to 96.7 m3/hr have drawdowns in the range of 2.23 to 6.76 m. The tube wells at Karuvatta, Karumadi, Karthikapalli and Kandiyur have free flow with water level in the range of 1.44 to 4.29 m agl.

General groundwater flow in this aquifer is from south to north. Karuvatta and the storativity is between 1.2 x 10-3 to 4.4 x 10-3.


transmissivity ranges from 6 m2 /day in the eastern recharge area to 3856 m2/day at The specific

capacity of tube wells is in the range of 23.5 lpm/m at Ramankari area, to 420 lpm/m at Karthikapalli area.


c. Groundwater in Quilon bed Compared to the underlying Vaikom beds the groundwater potential from the Quilon bed is not very promising. The thickness of granular zones tapped in this aquifer is between 6 and 10 m and is composed of fine sand. The piezometric head is 0.1 m above ground level and the transmissivity of the aquifer is found to be 29.22 m2/day. Groundwater in Warkali bed The Warkali aquifer overlying the Quilon bed is composed of medium to fine grained sand with an effective grain size of 0.21 to 0.30 mm. This bed is the most extensively developed aquifer in the district. Groundwater occurs in semi-confined to confined conditions with the cumulative thickness of granular zone varying from 6 to 44 m. The piezometric head of Warkali beds in the tube wells drilled by Central Groundwater Board is in the range of 2.8 m amsl in the east (Kandiyur) and 10 m bmsl at Alappuzha. The aquifer has attained high degree of development in Alappuzha area.

The tube wells have depth range of 22 258 m and have discharge in the range of 6 120 m3/hr with drawdown of less than 1 to 5.60 m for a duration of pumping of 600 to 3000 minutes. The specific capacity is in the range of 98.01 to 168.00 lpm/m and transmissivity ranges between 221 and 712 m2/day. Groundwater in Recent formations The Recent unconsolidated formation constitutes major potential phreatic aquifer comprising coastal sands all along the coast and flood plain deposits in interior Kuttanad area. Large number of shallow dug wells and tube wells for domestic use and in a limited extent for irrigation and industrial purpose uses this aquifer. The water table is generally shallow. The pre and post-monsoon water levels in phreatic aquifers are depicted as depth to water level contour maps (Fig.3&4). Depth of wells tapping coastal sediments ranges between 2.75 to 10.60 m bgl with depth to water level in the range of 1.0 to 2.0 m bgl. Open wells when tested for yield sustained pumping in the range of 20 to 80 minutes and had


discharge in the range of 11.76 to 12.90 m3/hr for a drawdown ranging from 0.7 to 5.58 m. The wells have specific capacity in the range of 10.74 to 75.23 m3/day/m. Long term behaviour of water level Groundwater occurs in the district in shallow phreatic zone, semi-confined zones, and in confined deeper aquifers. The water level hydrograph of Alappuzha station (dug well) shows a slight rising trend in water level over a period of 20 years. Whereas, the Groundwater Monitoring well at Chengannur tapping the phreatic aquifer of weathered formation shows a falling trend over a decade. Long term changes in deeper aquifers The water level hydrograph of Karthikapalli piezometer tapping Warkali formation shows a steady decline of both pre-monsoon and post-monsoon piezometeric level since last two decades. The piezometer tapping Quilon formation also behaves in the similar pattern.

Similarly the water level data recorded in the stations at Kandiyur and Muttom tapping Vaikom and Warkali formations for the period since 1987 showed declining trend both during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon period. This indicates that extensive groundwater development is taking place over years and the recharge during monsoon season is not enough to compensate groundwater development. 4.2. Groundwater resources Groundwater is developed in the district mainly through dug wells, filter point wells and tube wells. The entire Alappuzha town, its suburbs and most of the coastal towns and villages in the district are dependent on tube well water supply for drinking purpose. To assess the groundwater resource available in the district a study of the present stage of groundwater development and scope for future development is made. The recharge to the dynamic groundwater resource and draft are estimated as per the GEC 1997 Methodology. Groundwater recharge in shallow phreatic aquifer The computation of the resources of phreatic aquifer was done based on the water level fluctuation method. This was calculated based on the average fluctuation in water 15

levels between pre monsoon and post monsoon for the period.

The net annual

groundwater availability in the phreatic aquifer was calculated to be 419 MCM in the district and the block wise details are presented in Table 2. Groundwater draft The draft of groundwater from phreatic aquifer is mainly through dug wells and filter point wells. The existing groundwater draft for irrigation, domestic and industrial use is 128 MCM Allocation for domestic and industrial water supply at year 2025 is

made and is 77.12 MCM. All the blocks falls under safe category as the present stage of groundwater development is low. The stage of groundwater development in the district is depicted in Figure 5. Irrigation potential Alappuzha district being mostly a low lying coastal plain area, paddy is generally grown in the district. Besides, cash crops like coconut, banana, cocoa etc are also grown along the fringes of paddy fields throughout the coastal plains. Irrigation is not required during June to November, as good rainfall is recorded.


Table 2: Block-wise groundwater availability in Alappuzha district

Allocation for domestic and industrial water supply up to next 25 years (MCM) Requirement for domestic and industrial water supply up to next 25 years (MCM) Total Annual GW recharge (MCM) Net annual GW availability ( MCM) Existing gross ground water draft for irrigation (MCM) Existing gross ground water draft for domestic & industrial water supply (MCM) Stage of Development ,% Natural discharge during non-monsoon season ( MCM) Existing gross ground water draft for all uses (MCM) Net GW availability for future Irrigation development (MCM)

1 Pattanakkad 2 Thycattussery 3 Kanjikuzhi 4 Aryad 5 Ambalapuzha 6 Champakulam 7 Veliyanadu 8 Harippad 9 Chengannur 10 Mavelikara 11 Muthukulam 12 Bharanikavu Total

40.37 26.22 41.47 20.43 24.64 31.37 37.38 44.96 55.16 48.61 37.82 57.65 466.08

4.04 2.62 4.15 2.04 2.46 3.14 3.74 4.50 5.52 4.86 3.78 5.77 46.62

36.33 23.60 37.32 18.39 22.18 28.23 33.64 40.46 49.64 43.75 34.04 51.88 419.46

5.46 4.82 7.57 6.20 5.21 3.39 3.14 4.27 7.90 6.08 3.91 5.29 63.23

7.74 3.84 5.98 4.69 4.95 4.46 3.24 6.25 6.66 4.95 6.31 6.34 65.41

13.20 8.66 13.55 10.89 10.16 7.85 6.38 10.52 14.56 11.03 10.22 11.63 128.64

9.07 4.55 7.02 5.44 5.75 5.42 3.95 7.33 7.93 5.79 7.42 7.45 77.12

10.53 5.38 8.21 6.09 6.55 6.98 5.11 9.03 9.56 6.97 9.00 8.96 92.37

21.80 14.23 22.73 6.75 11.22 19.42 26.55 28.86 33.81 31.88 22.72 39.15 279.11

36.33 36.69 36.31 59.20 45.81 27.81 18.97 26.00 29.33 25.21 30.01 22.41 30.66

Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe





during this period. Thus the period of irrigation for coconut is worked out as 180 days and that of paddy as 65 days. It is found that the total irrigation potential created as on 31.3.99 in the district is 9384 hectares. By using the groundwater balance available for irrigation, the ultimate irrigation potential that can be created in Alappuzha district is 40923 hectares. The net groundwater availability for future irrigation development

worked out to be 279 MCM. Groundwater potential of deeper aquifers Among the deeper confined aquifers of Tertiary group, Warkali and Vaikom aquifers are potential and hence development is mostly restricted to these aquifers. The Quilon bed is poor aquifer and is without any development due to which the data available is meagre for the groundwater resource calculation. Alleppey bed contains brackish formation water. Hence the groundwater resources have been computed for Warkali and Vaikom aquifers. Warkali aquifers Warkali aquifer is the most potential fresh water aquifer in the Tertiary formations. Hence the maximum groundwater development has taken place in this

aquifer catering to the dense coastal population. The total groundwater potential available in the aquifer is 36 MCM. Many piezometers have been constructed in this aquifer by Central Ground water Board to monitor the groundwater development. Vaikom aquifer Next to Warkali aquifer, Vaikom aquifer is highly potential. groundwater potential available in this aquifer is worked out to be 10 MCM. 4.3. Groundwater quality The chemical characteristics of the groundwater in the shallow and deep aquifers of the district are being monitored by the Central Ground water Board through a network of shallow domestic wells, tube wells and bore wells. In addition to this, water quality in the water supply wells of Kerala Water Authority is also being studied. The electrical conductivity is an index of mineralisation of groundwater. Dug wells in most of the area show electrical conductivity (EC) in the range of 200 to 800 s/cm at 25C indicating 18 The total

freshwater suitable for all purposes. High EC values are noted in dug wells located adjacent to tidal inlets and brackish water bodies. The range in concentration of various chemical constituents in the shallow groundwater analysed is presented in Table 3. Table 3: Range of chemical parameters recorded in shallow monitoring wells Sl.No. Parameters Range of Desirable Maximum concentration limit permissible limit From To 1 EC, s/cm 31 847 750 3000 at 250C 2 pH 7.75 9.93 6.5-8.5 6.5-8.5 3 Na, mg/l 2.4 100 4 K, mg/l 0.2 8.9 5 Ca, mg/l 0 56 75 200 6 Mg, mg/l 1 24 30 100 7 CO3, mg/l 0 29 8 HCO3, mg/l 4 134 9 SO4, mg/l 0.2 76 200 400 10 TH, mg/l as 2 180 300 600 CaCO3, 11 NO3, mg/l 0 12 45 100 12 Fe, mg/l 0 2.4 0.54 1.0-1.5 13 F, mg/l 0.08 0.62 1.0 1.5 14 Cl, mg/l 3.7 226 250 1000 4.4. Status of groundwater development Development of Vaikom aquifer is limited as it is brackish in Kuttanad and north and in the area west of Vembanad lake. The present draft from this aquifer is estimated to be 4 MCM leaving bright scope for future development.

Deep tube wells can be drilled in the southern part of the district. Studies conducted by Central Ground water Board indicate a radius of influence of about 700 m for tube wells in this aquifer for 10 days of pumping and hence the minimum spacing of 1.4 km between two tube wells is recommended to avoid mutual interference. The groundwater draft and potential available for development in the Vaikom aquifer is as follows:

a. b.

Present draft in the district Utilizable groundwater potential for further development 19



c. d. e.

Recommended depth range Expected discharge No. of structures feasible in the district

: :

150-300 m 25-95 m3/hr.

(at the rate of 0.4 MCM/yr Per structure): (Area south of Karuvatta)


Warkali is the top most potential aquifer in the Tertiary sediments and is the most extensively developed, forming the source for drinking water supply for Alappuzha town and rural water supply of Kuttanad region. The total groundwater flow in Warkali aquifer in the district is calculated to be 36 MCM. Out of which 8 MCM is the draft for Alappuzha town and its suburbs, 11 MCM for Kuttanad region and 6 MCM for other parts of the district. About 11 MCM is still available for future development. In Alappuzha town the tube wells are located at closer spacing and this has resulted in the lowering of the piezometric surface and mutual interference of wells.

Studies carried out in the area indicated that the radius of cone of influence is between 500 and 750 m and hence a distance of 1.5 km between two tube wells may be maintained to avoid mutual interference due to pumping. However, in Alappuzha town and Kuttanad part of the district, the development of this aquifer has reached optimum stage and it has to be restricted in such a way so as to sustain the water resource for the present and future domestic needs. The draft and the groundwater potential available for future development in the Warkali aquifer are as follows.


Ground water flow in the Warkali in the district : : 36 MCM 25 MCM

b. c.

Present draft in the district Utilisable groundwater potential for further development

: : :

11 MCM 100-150 m 20-55 m3/hr.

d. e. f.

Recommended depth range Expected discharge No. of structures feasible in the district (at the rate of 0.4 MCM/yr per structure) 20


5.0 GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT STRATEGY 5.1. Groundwater Development The district is blessed with abundant groundwater resources in phreatic, semiconfined and confined conditions. industrial purposes. Groundwater is mainly used for drinking and

The phreatic aquifer is tapped by dug wells and filter points

generally fitted with 1.0 to 1.5 HP motors. The deeper confined Warkali and Vaikom aquifers are extensively developed through submersible or vertical turbine pumps for drinking water supply. The feasible structures recommended for the district is depicted in Figure 6. 5.2. Water Conservation and Artificial Recharge The district is a coastal plain land and major part of the district lies 2 m amsl to 2 m bmsl. The phreatic aquifer is made of alluvial and beach sand. Since the sand is highly porous and permeable natural recharge takes place automatically and a major part of the percolated rainwater goes off as rejected recharge which reaches to the drain channel as surface run off or sub surface runoff. Hence there is no need for Artificial Recharge in the phreatic aquifer.

In the areas where groundwater quality is unsuitable for use, (such as areas near to Vembanad lake and coastal areas and areas where no aquifer exist) rooftop rain water harvesting can be adopted to meet domestic requirements.

6.0 GROUNDWATER RELATED ISSUES AND PROBLEMS 6.1. Vulnerable areas The area around Chandirur and Thuravur has a lot of fish processing factories. The fluid wastes from these factories are polluting the nearby canals and this in turn may pollute the sub-surface water. Proper scientific guide lines and proper monitoring of the industrial waste disposal system is necessary for preventing large scale groundwater pollution due to industrial waste. 6.2 Water logging and conjunctive use studies


Most of the Kuttanad areas lie in submerged condition during major part of the year. It is subjected to the twin hazards of flood discharge during monsoon and sea water ingress during summer on either side of Vembanad lake. Excess water from the paddy field is being pumped out to the discharge channel finally leads to ocean. Canal irrigation from the Pamba-Achenkoil project is mainly practiced in areas outside of Alappuzha and the canals in Kuttanad are mainly used for navigation and discharging the excess water pumped out of paddy fields and for discharging the flood from Pamba river to Vembanad lake. 6.3 Special groundwater problems and studies

Sea water intrusion

The study carried out by CGWB have proved that the chances of sea water intrusion though exists is not imminent. The groundwater gradient is towards the sea and not reversed. Moreover, the chemical analyses of water samples along with trace

elements proved that wherever salinity occurs is due to the inherent nature of formation water and not due to sea water intrusion in recent period. The study carried out by CGWB has also proved that sea water intrusion has not taken place in the phreatic aquifer leaving a few locations in the close proximity of ocean, backwater canals and Vembanad lake where quality deteriorates during the summer months. Fluoride hazard Groundwater in water table condition shows fluoride concentration far below the permissible limit in the range of 0.08 to 0.62 mg/l. However certain tube wells tapping deeper confined aquifer around Alappuzha urban area, for drinking water supply registered excess fluoride concentration in the range of 1.7 to 2.56 mg/l.

Environmental Problems and issues The district forming mostly coastal and complex deltaic plains is criss-crossed by a number of canals, lagoons, estuaries and backwater. These water bodies are the

interaction zones between the open marine and the inland drainage system and are highly sensitive to changes in the environmental parameters. Backwater system and Vembanad lake exert considerable influence on the ecology of surrounding area. 22 The dense

population and intense land use practices in the area has complicated geomorphological set-up. The various environmental problems in the district are discussed in the following paragraphs. Effects of coastal erosion The shoreline erosion is one of the grave natural hazards affecting the district and extensive coastal erosion is taking place in the coastal areas of Thottappalli and Purakkad. Preventive measures like construction of sea walls of various lengths at Trikkunnapuzha, Arattupuzha, Pallara, Thottapalli, Purakkad, Punnapra coastal belts to arrest the sea erosion have been attempted.


High tidal effect

The tidal effect is felt mostly in the vicinity of the coast and areas adjacent to the streams and river inlets and areas surrounding backwaters, sometimes extending up to 12 km upstream. As a result of this tidal influence the quality of shallow groundwater very close to these tidal rivers is affected during summer months and the water becomes brackish. Water pollution and degradation of ecosystem The Kuttanad area has a very delicate ecosystem. Extensive use of hazardous chemicals would cause environmental pollution and will also lead to destruction of natural enemies of pests. The people now seem to be slowly awakening to the dangers, following the suspicion that water pollution especially due to pesticides has caused the current outbreak of fish disease in Kuttanad.

The Indo-Dutch study programming which went deep into the regional problems in 1990-'91 has brought out that very high concentration of DDT and its metabolites like DDE and DDD were noticed in water sediments and tissue samples of aquatic animals. Mud banks Ambalappuzha - Purakkad area in the Alappuzha district is famous for mud banks, which form a rich source of fish. These features appear during south-west

monsoon aided by sea waves causing ejection of loose sub-terraneans material through churning action. The mud banks are few metres away from the high water mark and fall in the inter tidal zone. Mud banks are unique features in Alappuzha coast. It is an area of Research for scientists.




7.1. Mass awareness programme and Water Management Training

One mass awareness programme on groundwater conservation and artificial recharge and one training programme on groundwater management were organized during the year 2005. 8.0 AREA NOTIFIED BY CGWA/ SGWA

No part of the area in the district has been notified by CGWA / SGWA. 9. 0 1. RECOMMENDATIONS

The groundwater potential in the alluvial terrain can be developed through various groundwater structures viz. dug wells, filter points and shallow tube wells. Dug wells ranging in depth from 4.0 to 7.0 m with diameter of 1.50 to 2.0 m is recommended. Filter points are feasible in areas around Nirkunnam, Kayamkulam, Haripad, Thottapally, Alappuzha, Aryad and Shertallai, Pattanakkad and Thuravoor.


Laterite aquifer in the southeastern parts of the district can be developed through open dug wells ranging in depth from 10 to 12 m with a diameter of 3.5 to 4.0 m. There is a big gap between dynamic phreatic groundwater resource available and utilised in the district. Accelerated groundwater

development in the district would bring more area under irrigation since there is a lot of resource untapped.


The deeper Tertiary sediments can be developed through tube wells. There is scope for additional 55 tube wells in the district in the depth range of 100-150 m tapping the Warkali aquifer with a minimum granular thickness of 15 m.


The deeper Vaikom aquifer in the Tertiary formation has fresh water in the area south of Karuvatta and an additional 15 tube wells in the depth range of 150-300 m tapping a minimum granular thickness of 20 m can be constructed.



In Alappuzha district the individual land holdings are small.


community irrigation schemes using groundwater resources have to be given top priority.


Development of groundwater will go a long way in providing assured irrigation and drinking water even to remote areas. Development of water resources needs a scientific management system co-ordinating the efforts of all concerned State and Central agencies for a speedy development of the district in the agricultural sector.


The groundwater in Alappuzha district is the most precious resource and the recharge area has to be demarcated precisely and protected properly from pollution. If necessary the recharge area is to be notified as protective area where pollution prone industries are to be banned.


R & D studies in Kuttanad by CGWB in collaboration with Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) shows microbiological contamination of rivers and other surface water bodies in Alappuzha area. It is recommended that Kerala Water Authority (KWA) may consider these facts before going ahead with drinking water schemes using Pamba river water as source.