Articles | Volume 16, issue 11
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4387–4400, 2012

Special issue: Assessing the impact of climate change for adaptive water...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4387–4400, 2012

Research article 26 Nov 2012

Research article | 26 Nov 2012

Quantifying aquifer properties and freshwater resource in coastal barriers: a hydrogeophysical approach applied at Sasihithlu (Karnataka state, India)

J.-M. Vouillamoz1,*, J. Hoareau1,2, M. Grammare1, D. Caron4, L. Nandagiri3, and A. Legchenko4 J.-M. Vouillamoz et al.
  • 1IRD/UJF-Grenoble-1/CNRS/G-INP, LTHE – UMR5564, Indo-French Cell for Water Science, Indian Institute of Science, 560012 Bangalore, India
  • 2Action Contre la Faim, 4 rue Niepce, 75014 Paris, France
  • 3National Institute of Technology of Karnataka, Dept. of Applied Mechanics, Surathkal, Srinivasnagar P.O., 575025 Mangalore, India
  • 4IRD/UJF-Grenoble-1/CNRS/G-INP, UMR LTHE, 38041 Grenoble cedex 9, France
  • *now at: IRD Benin, 08 BP 841, Cotonou, Bénin

Abstract. Many human communities living in coastal areas in Africa and Asia rely on thin freshwater lenses for their domestic supply. Population growth together with change in rainfall patterns and sea level will probably impact these vulnerable groundwater resources. Spatial knowledge of the aquifer properties and creation of a groundwater model are required for achieving a sustainable management of the resource. This paper presents a ready-to-use methodology for estimating the key aquifer properties and the freshwater resource based on the joint use of two non-invasive geophysical tools together with common hydrological measurements.

We applied the proposed methodology in an unconfined aquifer of a coastal sandy barrier in South-Western India. We jointly used magnetic resonance and transient electromagnetic soundings and we monitored rainfall, groundwater level and groundwater electrical conductivity. The combined interpretation of geophysical and hydrological results allowed estimating the aquifer properties and mapping the freshwater lens. Depending on the location and season, we estimate the freshwater reserve to range between 400 and 700 L m−2 of surface area (± 50%). We also estimate the recharge using time lapse geophysical measurements with hydrological monitoring. After a rainy event close to 100% of the rain is reaching the water table, but the net recharge at the end of the monsoon is less than 10% of the rain. Thus, we conclude that a change in rainfall patterns will probably not impact the groundwater resource since most of the rain water recharging the aquifer is flowing towards the sea and the river. However, a change in sea level will impact both the groundwater reserve and net recharge.