Application of GIS Techniques in Identifying Artificial Groundwater Recharging Zones in Arid Regions: A Case Study in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka
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Groundwater resources are severely threatened not only in terms of their quality but also their quantity. The availability of groundwater in arid regions is highly important as it caters to domestic needs, irrigation, and industrial purposes in those areas. With the increasing population and human needs, artificial recharging of groundwater has become an important topic because of rainfall scarcity, high evaporation, and shortage of surface water resources in arid regions. However, this has been given the minimum attention in the context of Sri Lanka. Therefore, the current research was carried out to demarcate suitable sites for the artificial recharging of aquifers with the help of geographic information system (GIS) techniques, in one of the water-scarce regions in Sri Lanka. Tissamaharama District Secretariat Division (DSD) is located in Hambanthota district. This region faces periodic water stress with a low-intensity seasonal rainfall pattern and a lack of surface water sources. Hydrological, geological, and geomorphological parameters such as rainfall, soil type, slope, drainage density, and land use patterns were considered to be the most influential parameters in determining the artificial recharging potential in the study area. The GIS tools were used to carry out a weighted overlay analysis to integrate the effects of each parameter into the potential for artificial groundwater recharge. The result of the study shows that 14.60% of the area in the Tissamaharama DSD has a very good potential for artificial groundwater recharge, while 41.32% has a good potential and 39.03% and 5.05% have poor and very poor potential for artificial groundwater recharge, respectively. The southern part of the DSD and the Yala nature reserve areas are observed to have a higher potential for artificial groundwater recharge than the other areas of Tissamaharama DSD. It is recommended to test the efficiency and effects of groundwater recharge using groundwater models by simulating the effects of groundwater recharge in future studies. Therefore, the results of the current research will be helpful in effectively managing the groundwater resources in the study area.
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