Ground water potential in a semi-arid region of Andhra Pradesh - a geographical information system approach
Continuous and adequate supplies of potable water from ground reservoirs are important for sustained agriculture, industry and domestic use throughout huge semi-arid regions of India. The present paper describes an approach to investigating groundwater potential over extensive geographical areas and illustrates its potential with reference to watershed planning in the large Varaha River Basin (VRB), Andhra Pradesh, India. The method involves the creation of a systematic database of information from satellite data for reconnaissance survey before going for field exploration. Colour composite images from Landsat Thematic Mapper and Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite were used to interpret various thematic maps of the Varaha river basin. SPOT 1 MLA data of band 3 on a 1:250 000 scale was used for improving the accuracy of interpretation of topographic units due to its higher resolution and stereo coverage. Slope and other coverages were derived from topographic maps. The thematic and topographic information was digitized and ERDAS Imagine GIS software was used to analyse this information. Groundwater potential zones were delineated through subjective weights assigned to interpreted thematic and derived topographic units according to their likely infiltration capacities. Seven categories of groundwater potential ranging from very good to poor were derived automatically. Field measurements were then made within a selection of these categories to check the groundwater potential at selected sites. The validity and effectiveness of using remote sensing and GIS techniques for improving the targeting of field observations for groundwater for a huge river basin is shown by comparing the inferred groundwater potential with the field measurements.
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