Recent studies on surface water-groundwater relationships at hydro-projects in India using environmental isotopes

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Environmental isotopes (2H or D, 18O, 3H), along with geology, hydrochemistry and in situ physicochemical parameters (EC, T, DO, pH) were employed to study surface water (reservoir, lake)-groundwater (spring) relationships at (1) Nagewadi, a minor irrigation project in the State of Maharashtra, Western India; (2) Kanhirapuzha reservoir in the State of Kerala, Southern India and (3) Ghatghar Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project in the State of Maharashtra, Western India for the purpose of understanding the seepage/leakage and its associated problems. The studies concluded that the springs found downstream of the Nagewadi project originate from the reservoir and not from the abutments or shallow aquifers. The Kanhirapuzha reservoir receives a substantial base-flow component compared to riverine inputs. The reason for the water-logging problem at a nearby downstream village during the non-summer periods is due to the change in the upstream groundwater flow direction under reservoir filling conditions and is not due to reservoir leakage. Most of the springs in the approach tunnel to the underground power house of the Ghatghar Project originate from the lower reservoir and not from the upper reservoir or the overburden rock matrix. The above case studies illustrate the diversity of environmental isotope applications in surface water (reservoir, lake)-groundwater (spring) relationships related to sustainability of hydro-projects.

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