Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques
2013, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages: 176-183
J. Environ. Treat. Tech.
ISSN: 2309-1185
Journal web link:
Determining the Changeability of Groundwater Level in the
Southwestern Part of Bangladesh using Geographic Information
System (GIS): A Spatio-Temporal Analysis
S. M. Saify Iqbal 1 , Md. Juel Rana Kutub 2 , Premanondo Debnath 1 , Nishat Falgunee 1 , Shahreen Muntaha Nawfee 1 ,
Shahadat Islam Sojib 3
1 MS Student, Department of Geography and Environment, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Dhaka
2 Lecturer, Department of Geography, Faujdarhat Cadet College
3 MS Student, Department of Oceanography, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Dhaka
Received: 30/10/2015
Accepted: 09/11/2015
Published: 30/12/2015
Groundwater is one of the most important freshwater sources in Bangladesh which is used for drinking, household chores and
irrigation. Due to high population pressure and excessive withdrawal, this important resource is under a lot of pressure. This
study is designed to assess the present groundwater condition of the southwestern part of Bangladesh. Groundwater depth data of
231 wells from 20 districts were collected from Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and analyzed in ArcGIS 10.1
and Microsoft Excel 2010. Data analysis showed that all over the year, groundwater lies beneath 0 to 14 m of sediment in the
southwestern part of this country. During the pre-monsoon season, groundwater level ranges from 6 to 10 m in Magura, Rajbari,
Jhenaidaha and its adjacent areas, but when the monsoon starts water level varies from 4 to 7 m except some parts of Magura as
the monsoon season is characterized by heavy rainfall and begins to increase slowly after ending of the rainy season. On the
other hand, water level varies from 1-4 m in the coastal areas of the southwestern part of this country. Basically, the larger values
are mostly associated with urban areas having groundwater level ranging between 6 and 12 m. During the monsoon season, there
is a wide disparity of groundwater condition except the coastal areas as it shows homogeneity. So significant variation in
groundwater depth is seen throughout the study area. Seasonal as well as spatial variation is observed. The impact of the
urbanization is seen clearly which leads to the lowering of groundwater level that can cause the catastrophic events like
earthquake, subsidence and pollution in this country.
Key Word: Groundwater, Freshwater Source, Monsoon, ArcGIS 10.1, Water Table.
1 Introduction 1
energy production, but these productions have decreased
Water resource, especially groundwater works as a
from 70% to 40% in 2004 [2]. It is widely used in the
feeder for the domestic, agriculture, industry and waste
minimum level of the technological and energy availability
disposal use which is a pre-required condition for the
because of its high quality [3] and is more attractive to the
economic and social development of any country [1]. It is
consumers for its more comparative per unit volume value
considered as one of the most inevitable part of the
than surface water and its local availability, reliability to
hydrologic cycle. It is the largest potential freshwater
drought and required minimum treatment [4]. It is also
source in the hydrological cycle larger than all the surface
considered as a vital resource for the developing countries,
lakes and streams combined. It is estimated that 8340000
because it is the prime source of irrigation, industrial and
cubic km of water is present beneath the surface of the
domestic uses [5].
Earth. In Bangladesh, it is the single most important fresh
The favorable hydrological and geological condition of
water source for urban areas. Groundwater is not an
Bangladesh indicates high potential groundwater storage.
independent source of water. It interacts with the surface
Most of the unconsolidated and estuarine sediment from
water through the various mechanisms and receives from
Pleistocene to the recent fluvial land of Bangladesh form
the prolific aquifers, which indicate the high reserve of
Groundwater plays a vital role for hydraulic power and
groundwater [6,7]. The aquifer ’ s productivity depends on
the lithological characteristics of soil, where soil porosity is
significant. This unconsolidated sediment can reserve a
S. M. Saify Iqbal, MS Student, Department of Geography
large volume of groundwater [8]. Groundwater level in the
and Environment, Faculty of Earth and Environmental
shallow aquifers of Ganges_Brahmaputra_Meghna (GBM)
Science, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Email:
is dynamic and characterized by the monsoonal rainfall [9]., Cell No: +8801755882482.
This shallow aquifer’s depth is less than 80 m [10]. The
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques
2013, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages: 176-183
(BWDB). At first, monthly data were classified into three
considerable both in temporal and spatial scales and which
different seasons (pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-
is ranged from 2 to 8 m [11].
monsoon) to find out the seasonal variation of groundwater
Bangladesh is a small country of 1, 47, 570 square km
depth of the study area. Following it, collected data were
and huge population about 14 million, according to the
checked, corrected, filtered and summarized to month.
2011 population census report [12]. Agriculture is the
After that, well locations were plotted with X and Y co-
primary occupation of the people. It depended on surface
ordinate value and Z value. Then interpolation was done
water and the monsoonal rainfall during the 1970s [13],
with IDW (Inverse Distance Weighted) tool in ArcGIS 10.1
but now 79.1% of the cultivated land use groundwater
to make a continuous raster converted from a discontinuous
through irrigation [14,15]. Urban areas of Bangladesh face
feature to illustrate a continuous groundwater level. Finally,
huge water crisis during the dry season and the
groundwater level was classified in order to determine the
groundwater table of those areas are rapidly decreasing
highest and lowest value.
[16]. The quality of groundwater in Bangladesh which is a
prime source of supplying water for most of the cities is
also deteriorating due to the pollution of groundwater by
sewage and excessive exploitation [17]. The northeastern
and southeastern part of Bangladesh is mostly occupied by
the hilly and coastal floodplain areas which were formed by
the unconsolidated tertiary and Pleistocene sediments
derived from the tertiary rock [18]. The coastal areas are
characterized by salinity and an active floodplain which are
flooded regularly by the high tide [19]. Groundwater level
is declining rapidly due to some natural and man-made
causes all over this country.
Southwestern part of the
country is also suffering from groundwater scarcity. This
study was conducted in the southwestern part of
Bangladesh comprising twenty districts under three
divisions (Dhaka, Khulna, and Barisal). On the account of
fluvial and ocean activity, most of the districts are located
closer to the coastal areas. For the mighty Sundarban forest
(the largest mangrove forest of the world), this region does
not experience huge disaster caused by the different types
of natural hazards every year. Tropical cyclone, storm
surge, devastating flood etc. are the most common natural
hazards occurred in this region [20].
Table 1: Number of Wells in the Southwestern Part of
Name of the
Number of
Name of the
of Wells
Figure 1: Map of the Study Area
3 Results and Findings
3.1 Variation of Water Level during the Pre-Monsoon
Figure 4 illustrates groundwater depth variation during
the pre-monsoon period (Feb-May). It shows that
groundwater level ranges from 0 to 10 m during this time.
From the following map it can be observed that
groundwater depletion rate is the highest in
2 Methodology of the Study
Rajbari, Kushtia and some parts of Meherpur, Chuadanga,
The goal of this study is to gain knowledge on the
Jhenaidaha, Faridpur, Jessore and Satkhira varies from 6-10
groundwater depth status of some selected regions of
m. On the contrary, groundwater fluctuation rate is lower in
Bangladesh. A total of 20 districts from the southwestern
the coastal areas ranges from 1-4 m. In Patuakhali,
part of the country are selected comprises diverse
Jhalakati and Barguna district the groundwater table is
physiographic condition and topography. This study is
noticed from 1-3 m. The water table is moderate which is
based on secondary data. Monthly data of groundwater
from 4-6 m is observed in some parts of Narail, Faridpur
depth of distinct 231 wells located within the several
and Jessore. There is one exception that a little part of
districts of the southwestern part of Bangladesh were
Jhenaidaha, Chuadanga and Kushtia district experience low
collected from the Bangladesh Water Development Board
fluctuation rate.
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques
2013, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages: 176-183
closer to the ground surface in the interior coastal areas of
Bangladesh in the monsoon season varies from 1-3 m.
3.3 Variation of Water Level during the Post-Monsoon
During the month of October and November, the
groundwater table ranges from 3-7 m in most of the
districts named Meherpur, Kushtia, Rajbari, Faridpur,
Magura, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Jhenaidaha, Chuadanga
and Jessore because of heavy rainfall in the rainy season.
But at the time increases the groundwater table starts to
diminish from the surface varies from 6-9 m in almost each
part of Kushtia, Chuadanga, Magura, Rajbari and
Jhenaidaha. Furthermore, the groundwater table is always
closer to the surface in the coastal areas of the southwestern
part of this country. However, owing to the low level of
urbanization and prevalence of scattered settlement
groundwater depletion is minor within this part of the
country. At the same time, people usually prefer surface
water to be used vigorously for their daily usage and the
opportunity of the groundwater to be replenished is more
due to less development of urban structure within this area.
As a result, the dry season scenario of groundwater
depletion in this part of Bangladesh is not marked worthy
and discernible.
4 Conclusions
Bangladesh is located in a zone of sufficient annual
precipitation and also it has the proximity to the major river
systems. But still it is not capable of utilizing its
opportunities due to lack of proper management and
effective implementation of the knowledge concerning the
groundwater situation of Bangladesh. From this research,
significant variation of groundwater depth has been
observed throughout the study area. The groundwater
situation has been found to be worst in Magura, Meherpur,
Jhenaidaha, Kushtia and Rajbari. The water table remains
closer to the ground surface all over the year in the coastal
districts of Bangladesh. We must keep in mind that
groundwater plays a very significant role to meet up the
need of daily water demand of the residents living in the
Figure 2: Methodology of the Study
cities of the developing countries like Bangladesh. In the
most parts of the developing world, the instantaneous
3.2 Variation of Water Level during the Monsoon
progression of groundwater exploitation happened from
1970 to 1990 [21]. The overwhelming demand owing to
In this period (Jun-Sep), huge rainfall is observed in our
increasing population, principally stimulates the rising
country. In 2010 about 5016 mm (197.5 in) rainfall was
depletion rate. And if this falling trend of groundwater level
measured. Groundwater level varies differently from June
continues, then it may invite land subsidence, groundwater
to September. From the following map we can see that
pollution, and other environmental hazards. So, the
groundwater level ranges from 4-7 m in the most parts of
groundwater aquifers of our study area require sustainable
Magura, Kushtia, Jhenaidaha and Rajbari district during the
management to assure that this resource can continue to
month of August and September because of heavy rainfall
meet up the quantitative demands that substantially rest on
which basically starts from June. During the monsoon
it. In order to revive the jeopardized condition caused by
period, groundwater level is observed between 9 and 10 m
groundwater deficiency, knowledge-based management
in some of the parts of Magura district. As time increases
measures should be initiated.
from the beginning of the rainy season, the fluctuation rate
of the groundwater table starts to decrease. It remains
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques
2013, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages: 176-183
Figure 3: Groundwater Level Fluctuation Scenario during the Pre-Monsoon Period
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques
2013, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages: 176-183
Figure 4: Groundwater Level Fluctuation Scenario during the Monsoon Period
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques
2013, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages: 176-183
Figure 5: Groundwater Level Fluctuation Scenario during the Post-Monsoon Period
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques
2013, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages: 176-183
Figure 6: Average Monthly Variation of Groundwater Level
5 Acknowledgements
We would like to express our heartiest gratitude to
Science, University of Dhaka and the authority of
Professor Dr. Towhida Rashid, Department of Geography
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