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Using geophysics to improve water resource management in rural India

In water scarce regions of India, women often spend a major part of their day collecting water from remote sources to carry back to the village.
Around the world the sustainability of water resources is increasingly at risk as growing demands exhaust available supplies. Climate change is also expected to increase the frequency of droughts and floods, making water resources less predictable and more difficult to manage. To address these problems, Dr. Stephen Moysey and his graduate students have been collaborating with the Foundation for Ecological Security, an Indian non-governmental organization, to improve water resource management in a water scarce region of Madhya Pradesh, India.

Measuring the stream flow in the watershed during the monsoon season to help villagers develop a water budgetGraduate student Dan Matz maps the geology and soils of the Salri watershed using an electromagnetic induction instrumentThe researchers are using standard hydrologic techniques, such as monitoring stream flow and groundwater levels, along with cutting-edge geophysical techniques to provide villagers with improved tools for managing their watershed. For example, the study is using electromagnetic induction to map the extent of aquifers that can be used to store water captured by small dams during the monsoon season; matzelectromagnetic induction can non-invasively probe rocks and soils at depths of up to about 20m using electromagnetic fields generated by an instrument carried above the ground surface.

Graduate student Dan Matz spent five months collecting data and working with villagers in India over the 2009 monsoon. He documented his experiences in an online field blog which can be found at: Without Borders Logo

This project is being sponsored under the first award made by the new Geoscientists Without Borders program created by the SEG Foundation.

Dr. Moysey discusses the project with villagersVillagers work by hand to construct a new dam that will capture monsoon runoff to recharge dwindling groundwater suppliesFor more information about this project or other Hydrogeophysics research at Clemson, contact Stephen Moysey (