Spatio-temporal variability of groundwater storage in India
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Groundwater level measurements from 3907 monitoring wells, distributed within 22 major river basins of India, are assessed to characterize their spatial and temporal variability. Groundwater storage (GWS) anomalies (relative to the long-term mean) exhibit strong seasonality, with annual maxima observed during the monsoon season and minima during pre-monsoon season. Spatial variability of GWS anomalies increases with the extent of measurements, following the power law relationship, i.e., log-(spatial variability) is linearly dependent on log-(spatial extent). In addition, the impact of well spacing on spatial variability and the power law rel ationship is investigated. We found that the mean GWS anomaly sampled at a 0.25 degree grid scale closes to unweighted average over all wells. The absolute error corresponding to each basin grows with increasing scale, i.e., from 0.25 degree to 1 degree. It was observed that small changes in extent could create very large changes in spatial variability at large grid scales. Spatial variability of GWS anomaly has been found to vary with climatic conditions. To our knowledge, this is the first study of the effects of well spacing on groundwater spatial variability. The results may be useful for interpreting large scale groundwater variations from unevenly spaced or sparse groundwater well observations or for siting and prioritizing wells in a network for groundwater management. The output of this study could be used to maintain a cost effective groundwater monitoring network in the study region and the approach can also be used in other parts of the globe.
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