• Numerical modelling of groundwater flow to understand the impacts of pumping on arsenic migration in the aquifer of North Bengal Plain

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      https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/jess/126/02/0029

    • Keywords

       

      Groundwater; arsenic migration; numerical modelling; steady state; North Bengal Plain; West Bengal.

    • Abstract

       

      In this paper, numerical simulations of regional-scale groundwater flow of North Bengal Plain have been carried out with special emphasis on the arsenic (As)-rich alluvium filled gap between the Rajmahal hills on the west and the Garo hills on the east. The proposed concern of this modelling arose from development that has led to large water table declines in the urban area of English Bazar block, Malda district, West Bengal and possible transport of As in the near future from the adjacent As-polluted aquifer. Groundwater occurs under unconfined condition in a thick zone of saturation within the Quaternaryalluvial sediments. Modelling indicates that current pumping has significantly changed the groundwater flowpaths from pre-development condition. At the present pumping rate, the pumping wells of the urban area may remain uncontaminated till the next 25 yrs, considering only pure advection of water but some water from the As-polluted zone may enter wells by 50 yrs. But geochemical and other processes such as adsorption, precipitation, redox reaction and microbial activity may significantly retard the predicted rate by advective transport. In the rural areas, majority of the water pumped from the aquifer is forirrigation, which is continuously re-applied on the surface. The near-vertical nature of the flowpaths indicates that, where As is present or released at shallow depths, it will continue to occur in pumping wells. Modelling also indicates that placing all the pumping wells at depths below 100 m may not provideAs-free water permanently.

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  • Journal of Earth System Science | News

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