This report summarizes the observations and findings of a team of four specialists from the U.S. Geological Survey assigned to Pakistan under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development during May to August 1972 for a hydrologic evaluation of Salinity Control and Reclamation Projects in the Indus Plain Individual members of the team undertook comprehensive studies related to climatology, surface-water hydrology, and the canal system; streamflow and sediment yields of the rivers; computer applications to hydrologic data; aquifer characteristics; hydrologic evaluation of Salinity Control and Reclamation Projects (SCARPs); tubewell performance; hydrology of shallow versus deep tubewells; well and well-screen design in the Indus Plain; evaluation of observed and anticipated trends in both private and public tubewell development; evaluation of water-quality programs, data analysis, and records, and computer coding of special water-quality data; and evaluation of water-level data, well discharge and specific-capacity tests and aquifer tests.
The reclamation program, by pumping from tubewells, has been notably successful in lowering the water table, in providing supplemental water for irrigation and for leaching of salinized soils, and in improving crop production. Some changes in water quality have been observed in SCARP-I and the Mona Scheme of SCARP-II, but these have not as yet (1972) significantly affected the utility of the water for irrigation. Problems associated with reclamation include control of deterioration in performance of tubewells and their rehabilitation, local brackish or saline-water encroachment, and maintenance of a favorable salt balance in the ground-water system.
Rapid and as yet (1972) unregulated growth of shallow private tubewell development in the past decade has introduced complicating factors to the reclamation planning of the early 1960's which had emphasized public tubewell development through the SCARP program. In comparing shallow (0-200 feet) with deep (200-400 feet} tubewell development, it is concluded that long-term response of the water table is the same, whether many shallow wells of small capacity or fewer deeper wells of large capacity pump the same total volume of water in the same area. Moreover, it is concluded that there is no definite advantage for either type of pumping regime with respect to water quality.
Utilization of the Punjab aquifer could be greatly enhanced by recharge of high-quality water diverted from the Chenab and Jhelum Rivers to the Ravi and Sutlej Rivers by way of the link and irrigation canals during periods of surplus flow. Recharge to the aquifer could also be improved by diversion of high-quality water from the Chenab and the Jhelum to natural nalas and other surface drainageways during periods of surplus flow. Such recharge would be of much better quality than water leaching downward from irrigated fields. Continued monitoring of the hydrologic system and research on problems engendered by reclamation are essential to the viability of the SCARP program and related water-resources development in the Indus River Basin.