Securing groundwater for drinking, household purposes, and food production have two major aspects: availability of sufficient quantity of the water, and safe quality for human consumption purposes. In countries like India, where water resource availability is extremely heterogeneous and is largely dependent on stability of the monsoonal rainfall, aggravating the water scarcity with predicted population growth is going to be a pivotal public health, socio-economic and political issue in near future. 

We, at HYDROIIT, using classical hydrogeoscience knowledge and state-of-art technological tools and innovation, try to determine the groundwater processes from continental scale to pore-scale, from theoretical conceptualization of fluid dynamics based flow system to hazard zonation from groundwater contamination for societal use, and from influence of large-scale geological processes on groundwater to contaminant fate and transport. 

Major Research Areas include

A.        Arsenic and other contaminants fate and transport: from global-scale to laboratory scale

B.        Interaction of groundwater with sea and river water

C.        Groundwater storage and recharge quantification

D.        Groundwater evolution (flow and chemistry) of large sedimentary basins

E.         Groundwater exploration, management and remediation

F.         Influence of tectonics on groundwater chemcial processes

A. Arsenic and other contaminants fate and transport: from global-scale to laboratory scale

Enrichment of arsenic (As) and other geogenic toxins (e.g. Co, Cr, F, Hg, Mn, Se, U) has resulted in severe pollution of potable surface and groundwater, soils and plants in many parts of the world, leading to severe environmental crisis on a global-scale. We are one of the global leaders in developing and executing inter-disciplinary research in understanding the occurrence and mobility of As and other toxic metals in water systems. We study the hydrodynamic, hydrogeochemical and biogeochemical controls on the distribution, contaminant fate and kinetics in natural and anthropogenically-induced groundwater and aquifer systems across the globe and up to laboratory-scale experiments. We lead most of the geoscientific research on As in India and regularly collaborate with other major As research groups at KTH (Sweden), Dhaka University (Bangladesh), UCL (UK), Columbia University and MIT (USA)

Ph.D. Students:

Swati Verma

Ashis Biswas

Amit Kundu

Project examples

a)        Controls on As in groundwater of Western Bengal basin

b)        Comaprison of As between parts of India and Bangladesh

c)         Geologic and geomorphic influence of As in Central Gangetic plain

d)        Chemical evolution of As enriched groundwater in Inner Mongolia [1]

e)        Hydrochemical modeling of As fate in Argentina

f)         Geothermal As in Cost Rica

g)        Global As cycling: ONGOING

B. Interaction of groundwater with sea and river water

Groundwater interacts with surface water systems either by effluence or influence. At coastal areas, submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and seawater intrusion (SWI) are two main mechanisms of hydrodynamics in the coastal environment and are the dominant pathways for transport of solutes to and from marine or subterranean environments. The dynamics of this interaction and its relation to redox conditions along the flow paths is poorly understood in Indian subcontinent. We are studying such interaction, mostly as SGD at coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal. The objectives are to understand the nature and hydrogeochemical evolution of the discharging groundwater from shallow aquifer through delineated spatial zones, along with temporal or tidal variations and effects of global climate change.

PhD Students

Palash Debnath

Prerona Das

Kousik Das

Anith Mishra

Soham Halder

Project examples

a)        Hydrogeochemical evolution of groundwater discharge from coasal aquifer to Bay of Bengal], India:

b)        Discharge and  contaminant flux from groundwater to a tributary to the Mississippi river, USA

Primary method of positive groundwater storage takes place by recharge. Hence, estimation of recharge is necessary for water budget and water management studies. With projected increase in frequency and intensity of droughts associated with climate change, there will be increased reliance on water resources through irrigation to support crop production. Thus recharge may be directly linked with the change in climatic parameters. We are estimating groundwater recharge by physical, chemical and numerical techniques and studying the potential impacts of land use/land cover (LU/LC) change and response of climate change (atmospheric parameters e.g. aerosols) on recharge in arid and semi-arid areas of India and other parts  other parts of the world. 

Ph.D. Student:

Soumendra Nath Bhanja

Pragnaditya Malakar

Adya A. Dash

Project examples

a)        Controls of climatic parameters on recharge in western part of West Bengal, India

b)        Influence of land use and land cover on recharge of Thar Desert, Rajasthan

D. Groundwater evolution (flow and chemistry) of large sedimentary basins

Almost 80% of the major aquifers of the world are parts of sedimentary basins. Basin-scale to regional-scale groundwater flow in these aquifers determines the nature of groundwater resource available in these areas. The groundwater flows along gradients of gravity or other geodynamic forces (e.g. tectonism, isostatic rebound etc.) and hydrogeochemically evolve along the flowpath. In our group, we evaluate the nature of these flows through delineated aquifer systems along with associated chemical changes. We apply a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques including field investigation, numerical simulations of flow, analytical calculations, thermodynamic modeling and multivariate statistics.

Current Student:

Project examples

a)        Western Bengal Basin, India

b)        Meghna sub-Basin, Bangladesh

c)         Central Gangetic Basin, India

d)        Huhhot Basin, Inner Mongolia, P.R. China

e)        Gulf Coastal Plain, USA

f)         Andean Foreland Basin, Argentina

g)        Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, Canada

h)        Saraswati Palaeo Basin, India

E. Groundwater exploration, management and remediation

With increasing demand from population growth, irrigated crop production, and more recently, biofuel production, the Indian subcontinent is particularly susceptible to unavailability of sustainable water sources, affected both by quality and quantity. In our group regularly get involved in applied studies that integrate hydrogeological and geophysical techniques to explore groundwater resources and flow paths, suggest management strategies and examine remediation options (e.g. development of filters for natural contaminants).

Current Ph.D. Student:

Project examples

a)        Investigation of mine seepage

b)        Exploration of groundwater availability in the bedrock aquifers of West Bengal

c)         Development of As filters for drinking water