This report is based on an investigation of the availability of ground-water supplies in the Bhachau area for the nearby Kandla Port and township development undertaken by the Government of India. This seaport lies on an estuary of the Gulf of Kutch in western India and in the eastern part of the State of Kutch. The fieldwork on the investigation was carried on from November 1952 through April 1953 with continuing hydrologic observations through 1954-55. The fieldwork included: geologic mapping and delimitation of the principal aquifers of the region; preparation of water-table maps; a detailed inventory of existing wells and springs; observations of significant water table fluctuations; preparation of isobicarb, isochlor and isosulf maps to show the areal distribution of ground-water salinity.
The Bhachau area includes about 116 square miles in eastern Kutch and lies in a belt of semiarid low-latitude steppes. The mean annual rainfall is about 15 inches, most of which falls from late June to late September during the southwest monsoon. The area includes a central sandy upland ranging from about 100 to 250 feet above sea level ; a northern lowland of between about 50 to 125 feet altitude that slopes north to the Great Rann of Kutch; a belt of low buttes and discontinuous ridges ranging from about 200 to 275 feet above sea level; and southern lowland which slopes in a southerly to southeasterly direction from an altitude of about 125 feet to 25 feet or less near the Gulf of Kutch. The principal streams are Kageshwar Vokra and Kara Vokra which drain north to the Great Rann and Kotwala Vokra and Dalwala Vokra which drain south toward the Gulf of Kutch.
The rocks of the Bhachau area include nonmarine and marine sediments of Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Quaternary age and volcanic rocks of late Mesozoic to early Tertiary age. The oldest rocks in the area are medium- to coarse-grained white to buff current-bedded friable sandstone with occasional partings of white silty shale of the Upper Bhuj series that has been assigned to the Early Cretaceous. The soft friable sandstone of the Upper Bhuj series constitutes the most productive ground-water reservoir in the Bhachau area. At present (1955) there are nine irrigated tracts for which water is obtained from dug wells less than 90 feet deep in the Upper Bhuj. These wells are worked by bullocks and 'motes' (leather bags) at withdrawal rates ranging from about 6,000 to 24,000imperial gallons per day; however, many existing individual wells if equipped with mechanical pumps are capable of yielding 100,000 gallons per day. The Deccan trap of Late Cretaceous to Eocene age occurs in a sequence of basaltic lava flows in the Bhachau area, but trap dikes, sills and plugs that are common in other parts of Kutch have not been observed in the area. Laterite of probable Eocene age is extensive at the top of the Deccan trap, and in places where the lava flows are thin the parent rock has been almost completely lateritized. The Deccan lava flows or the laterite, where the trap is absent, rest disconformably on the Upper Bhuj. No wells have been observed in the Deccan trap of the Bhachau area, but it is possible that locally small supplies of good water may be obtained from these rocks.
The Tertiary sediments, which are assigned to the Manchhar series of Pliocene age, generally rest on the laterite or the Deccan trap ; but where both are absent, the Manchhar rests directly on the Upper Bhuj. The Manchhar series includes massive reddish-brown gypseous clay shales, laminated gray siltstones, some limestone, mottled sandstone, and laterite trap gravel. Only meager supplies of brackish water are obtained from wells in these sediments.
Along the channels of Kotwala, Dalwala, Kageshwar, and Kara Vokras are narrow bands of unconsolidated coarse sand with fine gravel of Quaternary age. No wells were observed in these deposits, but it is possible that locally they may contain small supplies of bracki
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Ground water in folded Cretaceous sandstone of the Bhachau area, Kutch, India, with reference to the Kandla Port water supply