(Indo-French Centre for Groundwater Research:







Dr. Shakeel Ahmed

Chief Scientist & Team Leader (India), IFCGR

Hydrogeology & Management


Mr. V.K. Somvanshi

Sr.Principal Scientist

Computational Hydrogeology


Dr.Subhash Chandra

Principal Scientist








Aquifer Modeling


Dr.Tanvi Arora




Mr.Sateesh Chandrapuri




Dr.Sahebrao Sonkamble


Environmental Science








Dr. E.Nagaiah








Mr.Lohith Kumar




Dr.P.D. Sreedevi

PI,WOS(A)-DST Project



Dr. Sarah

CSIR-Research Associate



Mr. Syed Aadil Mizan




Dr.Adrien Selles

BRGM Sci. & Team Leader (France), IFCGR



To be Appointed by BRGM





PhD Student (BRGM)


Ongoing Projects in the group

  • Enhancement of natural water systems and treatment methods for safe and sustainable water supply in India [Saph Pani: EC Sponsored]
  • Aquifers characterization using advanced geophysical techniques in representative geological terrains of India [AQUIM: World Bank sponsored]
  • Impacts of Meso-scale watershed development in Andhra Pradesh (India) and their implications for designing and implementing improved WSD policies and programs [MESOWS: ACIAR Sponsored]
  • Development of Decision Support Tool (DST) for Sustainable Water Management in the Sugarcane Growing Regions in India [DSTSGR: WWF Sponsored]

Discovering and Mapping aquifers to meet India's water challenges using advanced geophysical technique

An emerging approach increasingly utilized world over is to achieve continuous regional-scale aquifer mapping employing heli-borne geophysical measurements, and integrate the ensuing results with the geological and hydrogeological data to reliably characterize the aquifers. CSIR-NGRI has very successfully carried out state-of-the-art heliborne Transient Electromagnetic investigation first time in India and obtained fascinating results on the aquifer systems and its spatial characteristics covering almost all types of geological formation present in the country (Fig. 1). The results, in general, helped in mapping the aquifers in 3-Dimension in desert, alluvium, hard rocks and coastal tract. Besides, it helped reconstructing the concealed subsurface spatial disposition of structures controlling the groundwater dynamics.

The main advantages of the heliborne geophysical surveys are that they are: fast (~2000 measurements/hour), highly data dense, precise and obviously economical. Moreover, they can be conducted in remote, inaccessible areas. It helped getting a clear insight into the prevailing hydrogeological conditions; identify the aquifers and also delineating the subsurface structures.

Figure 1: Location of the Pilot study areas in different hydrogeological settings

The HeliTEM method energizes the ground by means of sending a current pulse in the transmitter loop towed below the helicopter. The pulse induces eddy currents in the subsurface geological conductors that in turn produce secondary EM fields, which are recorded by a receiver loop, placed either at the center or in close vicinity of the transmitter loop. This response is then analyzed, processed and modeled to create depth images representing subsurface resistivity/conductivity distributions. Concurrent measurements of the magnetic field (HeliMAG) provide valuable information on the geological structures that control the occurrence of the groundwater. This system incorporates the unique feature of using dual (low and high) moments for the transmitter. While the initial measurements with low moment (~3400 Am2) facilitate the measurement at very early times of about 9 µsec to 1.7 msec, the measurements at high moment (155000 Am2) provided information in the late time range of about 84 µsec to 8.9 msec. The early time measurements are particularly useful in deciphering the characteristics of shallow layers within a depth range of 5 to 10 m. This information is critical in assessing the recharge potential of a region. The late time measurements provided reliable information about the deeper structures up to ~300 m in alluvial areas and ~200 m in hard rock areas.

The unique advantage of such investigation is that it doesn't suffer from the uncertainty of interpolation. It provides a continuous picture of the aquifer in 3D (Fig. 2) showing merging of two important aquifers that couldn't have been precisely determined otherwise. This is an important information to decide the placement of a bore well in a particular aquifer as two aquifers are often quite different in quality for example in parts of Ganga basin in Bihar the 2nd principal aquifer is free from Arsenic contamination while the first one is contaminated.

Figure 2: Continuous Aquifer disposition in Alluvial aquifer in Ganga basin in Bihar

The results have provided on one hand a unique scientific findings and added a new chapter in the groundwater geophysics in India and on the other hand, have set the guidelines to complete aquifer mapping for the entire country.

The project has been carried out in collaboration with CGWB, Min of Water Resources, Govt. of India sponsored by the World Bank under Hydrology Project II. The investigations were conducted using SKYTEM equipment under a collaboration with Aarhus University, Denmark.

The results are being transformed into hydrogeological and aquifer maps at different scales, the regional scale will be useful for policy makers to have a long term plans as well as the aquifer maps at the village levels will be utilized by the local population to manage the aquifer on their own by taking decision based on the local conditions with precise and complete knowledge of the aquifer system. The CSIR-NGRI has obtained huge amount of important data that is being used in carrying out research on aquifer mapping and management in different geological formations; generating research work for at least a period of 5 years and of course, generating the employment.

SAPH PANI: Enhancement of natural water systems and Treatment Methods for safe and Sustainable water supply in India

With the above objectives, the project has adopted following three methodologies viz.,

  • River Bank Filtration (RBF)
  • Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)
  • Soil Aquifer Treatment (SAT): Constructed & Natural Wetlands

CSIR-NGRI has worked on the MAR and SAT only based on our expertise and carried out the project only in following three areas.

  • Raipur District, Chhatisgarh: MAR
  • Maheshwaram, RR Dist. Telangana: MAR
  • Musi left bank site in Hyderabad peri-urban: SAT

Case of Managed Aquifer Recharge (Maheshwaram, Telangana State)

The numerical model of aquifer flow in the area of Maheshwaram including the simulation of tank recharge has been available in the same project. It has therefore, been useful to study and validate a new scenario for the Artificial Recharge through the tank at a favorable point provided by the geophysical acumen.

Tumlur tank with an area of 0.14 km2locates in north-eastern part  of the study was initially simulated  in steady state and then in transient condition within the regional model. Thus the tank area was divided into meshes of 50m by 50m size giving about 57 active meshes for micro scale modelling. The steady state simulation had been performed for averaged rainfall and abstraction values in and around Tumlur tank for the period January 2001 and then calibrated under transient conditions for the periods 2001 to 2006. This model was calibrated against the general recharge and hydraulic conductivity through a sequence of sensitivity analysis runs.

The meshes in the tank area (Fig. 3) were divided into two part through a hypothetical barrier say check-dam. Thus extra recharge (additional as Artificial Recharge) was assigned once to northern side of the Check dam simulating the logging of water  under natural condition and on another run, the same extra recharge were assigned to the meshes at the southern side of the check dam only. The model was run in both the conditions for a period of 6 years keeping all other inputs the same. The respective rise in water levels at a representative mesh in both the cases were plotted for 6 years or 12 seasons (Fig. 3). It is clearly seen that if the runoff water is applied to southern portion of the tank creating an engineered structured, the benefit to the system will be many folds. The location of such check dam can be determined only after geophysical investigations.

Fig. 3. Discretized watershed Tumlur tank  and  Impact of induced recharge on tank grid water level.

Assessing the efficiency and sustainability of wetlands and SAT for wastewater treatment at downstream of Musi River, Hyderabad

The Musi River which flows through the city of Hyderabad, receives over a 1.2 million m3/day of wastewater (both domestic and industrial) from the city which is only partially treated and used for irrigation, directly through irrigation canals. The wastewater is a significant resource in this semi-arid peri urban environ where the cultivation of fodder grass, paddy and vegetables has provided economic benefits to many inhabitants of the area. Year round cultivation, which generates large return flows from irrigated fields, contributes to a large share of the aquifer recharge. NGRI is one of the partners in Saph-Pani Project in order to enhance the natural treatment systems such as wetlands existing in the proximity of the river. The experimental site of 2.8 km2 located 10 km downstream of the Musi River, Hyderabad (Fig. 1) has been selected as a pilot study. The main objectives are 1) to capture the existing experiences and identify strategies for enhancement of natural waste water treatment, and 2) to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of wetlands and soil aquifer treatment (SAT) for treating wastewater in a context of peri-urban agriculture.

To meet the above objectives the test site has been monitored to characterize the hydrodynamics and chemical gradient among wastewater, groundwater, soil, and plant biomass for two hydrological years. In addition to these, a regular monitoring of static water level and insitu pH, electrical conductivity and dissolved oxygen from the existing piezometers are being carried out. Hydrogeologically the test site shows, the groundwater occurs in unconfined and confined conditions where the hydraulic gradient is towards the main stream following topography. The conceptual model (Fig. 4) shows that the natural wetland system where depth to hard rock is at 30 m depth, has a great scope for the biotransformation of chemical pollutants. The primary results of chemical scanning of water, soil and plant biomass depicts that several process like chemical (redox, ion exchange, sorption, etc.), biological (assimilation of trace metals, bioremediation by microbes and flora) and physical (adsorption, coagulation, sedimentation) has been taking place resulting the improved quality of wastewater. Values are shown in Table 1 below

A considerable decrease in the concentrations of trace elements in wetlands systems indicates the efficiency of wetlands in enhancing the wastewater. Further, a conceptual model of flow and mass transport, and the hydrogeochemical model would be generated to establish the strategies for enhancement of constructed wetlands and other natural treatment systems to achieve the concept of sustainable water.

Fig. 4 Location map of Musi River study area, Hyderabad, India

Indo-Australia Project: Impacts of Meso-scale watershed development in AP and their implications for designing and implementing improved WSD policies and programs.

Study areas:

First Study Site (Anantapur & Kurnool District): Two watershed i.e. Maruva vanka and Vajrala vanka lies in both Anantapur & Kurnool district. It is situated between latitude 15.130 and 15.300 N and longitude 77.570 and 77.730 E covering an area of about 15619 Ha.  The Second Study Site (Prakasam District): Second study area i.e. Peethuruvagu watershed lies in the south-west part of Prakasam district, between latitude 15.330 and 15.550 N and longitude 79.030 and 79.120 E, covering an area of about 9425 Ha.

Rationale and Methodology for integration of social and economic issues with hydrological model

Water resource management needs to consider multiple issues: stakeholders and scales of system behaviour). Models that integrate key disciplines are a critical tool for developing management plans, enabling effects of policy interventions, climate variability/change and demographics to be predicted (although with some uncertainty). Models can also act as a vehicle for social learning (e.g. the APFAMGS project). The issues of significance for water resource management tend to be interrelated, especially when a problem has offsite or downstream impacts, and often they are conflicting.  Further, the number of issues that must be considered tends to increase with scale.

The LWR/2002/100 project (Water Harvesting and better cropping systems for the benefit of productivity and a decrease in erosion rates.

The IWRAM project models which will provide the basis of this investigation are an example of coupled component models. Often, integration techniques such as system dynamics, meta-modelling and coupled component models are too complex for catchment managers to use on a routine basis. Bayesian Decision Networks (BDNs) are an alternative approach for integration in complex systems that typically involve a large number of issues (Ticehurst et al. 2007). Bayesian networks consist of a series of nodes and causal links that form a conceptualisation of the system being studied. The causal links use conditional probability tables to represent the relationship between nodes, with the probabilities determined in a range of ways, including using data, model runs and expert knowledge. BDN’s which have a large number of nodes (e.g. Ticehurst et al. 2008, with over 50 nodes), representing the impact of a number of management options on a set of management issues.