Artesian water in the Malabar coastal plain of southern Kerala, India

Water Supply Paper 1608-D




The present report is based on a geological and hydrological reconnaissance during 1954 of the Malabar Coastal Plain and adjacent island area of southern Kerala to evaluate the availability of ground water for coastal villages and municipalities and associated industries and the potentialities for future development. The work was done in cooperation with the Geological Survey of India and under the auspices of the U.S. Technical Cooperation Mission to India. The State of Kerala, which lies near the southern tip of India and along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, contains a total area of 14,937 square miles. The eastern part of the state is s rugged mountainous highland which attains altitudes of more than 6,000 feet. This highland descends westward through piedmont upland to s narrow coastal plain, which reaches a maximum width of about 16 miles in the latitude of Shertalli. A tropical monsoon rain-forest climate prevails in most of Kerala, and annual rainfall ranges from 65 to 130 inches in the southern part of the coastal plain to as much a 200 inches in the highland. The highland and piedmont upland tracts of Kerala are underlain by Precambrian meamorphic and igneous rocks belonging in large parabola-the so-called Charnockite Series. Beneath ahe coastal plain are semiconsolidated asunconsolidated sedimentary deposits whose age ranges from Miocene to Recent. These deposits include sofa sandstone and clay shale containing some marl or limestone and sand, and clay and pea containing some gravel. The sofa sandstone, sand, and gravel beds constitute important aquifers a depths ranging from a few tens of feet to 400 feet or more below the land surface. The shallow ground war is under water-able or unconfined conditions, but the deeper aquifers contain water under artesian pressure. Near the coast, drilled wells tapping the deeper aquifers commonly flow with artesian heads as much as 10 to 12 feet above the land surface. The draft from existing wells in the coastal belt between Quilon and Alleppy was estimated at 1 to 1 1/2 million imperial gallons a day. However, favorable conations exist for considerable further ground-water development in the coastal plain provided that sufficient attention is given to the potential hazards of saltwater encroachment and local overdevelopment. It is estimated that the overall potential for development of water from wells is probably at least several tens of millions of gallons a day, and perhaps more, in the Malabar Coastal Plain of southern Kera. Such a draft would have to be well dispersed to avoid overdevelopment and salt-war encroachment.

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Artesian water in the Malabar coastal plain of southern Kerala, India
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Water Supply Paper
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U.S. G.P.O.,
iii, 14 p. :ill., maps ;24 cm.