Terrestrial water storage in the Bengal Basin – piezometric monitoring to validate and complement GRACE observations

Theme: Natural & Biological Hazards

Main Supervisor:

William Burgess

Earth Sciences, UCL

Second Supervisor:

Mohammad Shamsudduha

Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, UCL

Project Description:

The water balance of the Bengal Basin including groundwater storage in the Bengal Aquifer System is critical to the security and economy of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, but is susceptible to climate change and anthropogenic influences.

This research will explore the use of piezometric monitoring to make direct measurements of terrestrial water storage variations (ΔTWS) within the basin. Using hour-resolution groundwater pressure data recorded over 12 months in 2013-2014 at sites across the basin, soil-moisture data from the Global Land Data Assimilation System and additional measurements the research will enable:
(1) high-frequency resolution of ΔTWS within the Bengal Basin in the first large scale application of geological weighing lysimetry, and
(2) direct testing of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite-based estimates of ΔTWS.

Training will be given in hydrogeological analysis, multidimensional data manipulation using ‘R’, and visualisation using ArcGIS.

Policy Impact of Research:

The research will assist policy makers by contributing to knowledge and understanding of the region’s resilience against extreme hydrological events and the sustainability of its water resources.


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