Title: Area-differentiated modelling of excess nutrient and contaminant leaching risks at the river-basin scale using a hydrological approach in India

Authors: K.K. Narula, N.K. Bansal, A.K. Gosain, F. Wendland

Addresses: Centre for Energy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, IIT Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110 016, India. Centre for Energy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, IIT Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110 016, India. Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, IIT Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110 016, India. Systems Research and Technology Evaluation Group (STE), Research Centre Juelich (FZJ-Juelich), Juelich, D52425, Germany

Abstract: Application of excess nutrients, such as fertilizers, is a significant and sometimes even major component of groundwater pollution. Diffuse inputs of nutrients and contaminants to the groundwater are related to runoff generated from precipitation on a catchment. This implies that the analysis of diffuse fluxes from the land surface to the groundwater requires an analysis of water fluxes for a catchment. This requires the simulation and modelling of total runoff, groundwater recharge, and plant-available water as a function of the regional interaction of the climate, soil, hydrogeology, topography and land-use conditions in the river basin. A model has been developed for large river basins in India, and has been applied to the Upper Yamuna basin, to quantify the exchange probability of plant-available soil water, which can be taken as a measure to determine the nutrient and contaminant leaching risk of a site. It was found that, with the available large-scale databases and methods, regional patterns of the total runoff could be simulated successfully. In this way, about 75001km² of the total 121000 km² of the Upper Yamuna basin was classified as an area sensitive to nutrient and contaminant leaching.

Keywords: India; plant-available water; pollutant and nitrate leaching risk; total runoff; Upper Yamuna; water balance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2003.003317

International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 2003 Vol.19 No.3, pp.225 - 242

Available online: 21 Aug 2003 *

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