New publication on the potential for Aquifer Storage and Recovery in southern Bihar, India

Tamara Jackson

A new publication from Nalanda University explores the potential for Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) in Bihar, as part of ACIAR SDIP’s work on sustainable groundwater development.

Among the several options of managed aquifer recharge techniques, Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) is a well-known sub-surface technique to replenish depleted aquifers, which is contingent upon the selection of appropriate sites. This paper explores the potential of ASR for groundwater recharge in the hydrological, hydrogeological, social, and economic context of South Bihar in India.

Based on the water samples from more than 137 wells and socio-economic surveys, ASR installations were piloted through seven selected entrepreneurial farmers in two villages of South Bihar. The feasibility of ASR in both hard rock and deep alluvial aquifers was demonstrated for the prominent aquifer types in the marginal alluvial plains of South Bihar and elsewhere. It was postulated through this pilot study that a successful spread of ASR in South Bihar can augment usable water resources for agriculture during the winter cropping season.

Importantly, results show that ASR can adapt to local circumstances and challenges under changing climatic conditions. The flexible and participatory approach in this pilot study allowed farmers to creatively engage with the design and governance aspects of the recharge pit. The entrepreneurial farmers-led model builds local accountability, creates avenues for private investments, and opens up the space for continued innovation in technology and management, while also committing to resource distributive justice and environmental sustainability.

The full publication is available here. Please contact Dr Somnath Bandyopadhyay for more information ([email protected]).