Utilizing dry Palaeo-Channels of the Vedic Sarasvati River in the arid and semi-arid regions of Northwestern India for the artificial recharge of ground water

Category Hydrogeology
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author SHRIVASTAVA, Kanhaiya Lal; PALIWAL, Bhawani Shanker
Holding Date 11 October 2008

It is an established fact that the Vedic Sarasvati River used to flow during 8000 BC to 3000 BC from the Himalaya to the Rann of Kachachh in the region to the west of the Aravalli Mountain in Rajasthan. The mythological, archaeological, geological and satellite data have confirmed its existence and its desiccation has been described in 75 hymns of Rigveda. There is general consensus amongst geoscientists that the Sarasvati River used to flow from the Himalayan glaciers flowing through Ambala, Sirsa, Hanumangarh , Anupugarh along the present course of Ghaggar River and entered Pakistan where it took a course, that has now taken by Hakra and Nara meeting the Great Rann. Its Palaeo-channels have been observed in Kishangarh-Ghantiali-Ghotaru areas of Jaisalmer district that might have been formed when it entered Pakistan through its southern channels. This part of Jaislamer district has the water table below 30 metres depth from the surface and except at some limited places where ground water is of potable quality (less than 2000 EC) mostly it is saline in nature. Leaving the Hanumangarh-Anupgarh area, which is intensely irrigated and has become almost water-logged, the area as a whole is dry, with deep water levels and the ground water is generally saline except in a few isolated patches of small aerial extent having the potable quality. The existence of the Sarasvati River during Vedic period has excited the scientists so much, particularly those who have seen Palaeo-channels on the satellite imageries, that they have started visualizing the presence of a large reservoirs of fresh groundwater along its course in the water deficit Jaisalmer district similar to the huge quantity of ground water of potable quality that they have visualized in the basins of Sikar, Churu, Bikaner and Nagaur districts of Rajasthan, attributed to the Sarasvati River which might have flown over there . During the Holocene period, for about 10,000 years, the Sarasvati River and its tributaries deposited river sediments, mostly sand, gravel and silty clays along its meandering courses, now known as Palaeo-channels and geologically known as the Younger alluvium or newer alluvium and are deposited over the older alluvium of Pleistocene period. The thickness of the river sediments deposited by the Sarasvati River during its flow span of about 3000 to 5000 years (8000BC to 3000 BC) can not be more than 20 to 30 metres along its banks which might have meandered due to floods (one of the major floods described in Ancient Sanskrit Literature which compelled Manu his spouse to go to the Himalaya in a boat till the flood receded). Whereas the water found in the Jaiselmer area along these channels is deeper than 40 metres. The Paleo-channels in this area are dry now and the dynamic recharge is very low. But these Paleo-channels can be revived by canalizing water from the water logged areas of the near by places of Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan.