Water Resource in Bhopal

Urban expansion indeed, has put enormous stress on various resources. The most fundamental necessities for urban expansion are space, raw materials, energy, water supply and waste disposal sites. The water resource development plays an important role in achieving the multifaceted growth.

The multi dimensional growth of any city without proper planning will lead to disaster as in the case of much hyped silicon city of India “Bangalore” which was in the recent news due to heavy rain fall. The proper urban sprawl and multidate analysis of satellite will help in future planning & help to restrict the occurrence of such events in future due to natural calamities. In past proper emphasis on water resources has not been given in planning of cities (urban area). Therefore, there is a need for planning of urban area with proper emphasis on water resources using GIS &remote sensing data. This will make planning water friendly and also our surroundings cleaner and healthier for a better future.

Water resources are extremely sensitive and once degraded would take hundreds and even thousand of years to revive. Urban planners will have to give priority to conserve, protect and economic use of water resources. Every planning should have the essence of being a “Water Resource Friendly”.

An attempt has been made through this paper to review the impact on water resources (surface and sub surface) of Bhopal Urban & suburban areas.



 Urban development is synonymous to improved socio- economic upliftment but faulty planning leads to disaster, water is indispensable for mankind, and Ground water is one of the prime resources of fresh water. Water is a wonderful gift of nature. Many other things useful for life can be built, constructed, made or collected, but this treatment cannot be given to water moreover, for producing all the necessities of life water is a very important source.

The major objective of this paper is assessment of water resources for Bhopal city and its environs using remote sensing and GIS. The exploration and evaluation of water resources depends on various methods and criteria, geology, geomorphology, structures, hydrology and factors governing the development of water resources regime. An attempt has been made to assess the water resources of Bhopal city based on the above factors.


Looking to the crises in the Bhopal city the entire hydrogeomorphological study was proposed for the area, hence the study area lies in longitude 77o 11′ East to 77o38′ and latitude 23o 05′ North to23o26′ which is bound by Sehore district in the western part and Raisen in the eastern and Hoshangabad in the southern, in northern part it is surrounded by Berasia tehsil, administratively.

Physiographically the area can be divided in northern small hilly area and rest undulating sloping area. The general slope is towards North and south eastern side. In the North eastern side lies river Halali, south eastern side lies Kalisot River and to south western side small Nallas that drain out in Kolar river. Which ultimately joins River Narmada.



 It is an irony that even the “city of lakes” is no exception to water crisis that is fast becoming a global phenomenon. The water crisis in Bhopal has made headlines over the last few years

Bhopal, the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh in India has been facing a fast rate of urban development and industrialization, over the last decade population growth was about per year 3.5%, quite higher than the national average of 2%. This has brought about an adverse impact on the available precious water resource.

Bhopal, which is endowed with a number of water bodies developed over a period of about 900 years, is yet facing the problem of decline of water bodies; there is need of a serious thought to this issue.



 The identified study area for Bhopal has 16 major water bodies covering an area of 7019.49 hectares. These water bodies are being put to different uses such as water supply, Irrigation, washing, recreation and fisheries etc. water bodies are presently in different ecological status. Detailed information about these water bodies are presented in table -1

Table -1 Water bodies of Bhopal – area, status and use



 The water supply schemes in Bhopal have been developed in different phases depending on the projected requirement from time to time. The three land mark decisions for augmenting the supply where:

  • 1970’s – Increase in upper lake capacity (local)

  • 1980’s – Kolar scheme —32K.M. away from Bhopal

  • 2005 – Narmada water scheme—67.3K.M. Away from Bhopal

The future water demand projection depending on the population growth rates indicates that water demand in year 2031 for Bhopal city would increased to118MGD. The present identified schemes would not be able to meet such high demand thus there is a need to look for alternative options such as:

  • Development of possible resources within the area.

  • Ground water recharge

  • Conservation of existing water bodies

The urban expansion indeed has put enormous stress on various resources. The most fundamental are space, raw materials, energy, water supply and waste disposal sites. The water resource assessment, availability and development plays an important role in shaping the cities. The gap between supply and demand is increasing, seeing the fact the methodology adopted in the study area involves thematic map generation from Remote sensing data and their integration through GIS. Geological map, Geomorphologic map, Structural map and Lineament maps are prepared (Fig.1,2and3).Using visual interpretation of satellite data followed by selective field checks. Drainage map is also prepared giving an idea of slope and drainage pattern. For integration all the maps are converted into digital format in GIS and final output map of Hydrogeomorpholoy is prepared, based on class and various combinations a final out put map is generated. With various structures and other features marked on it.

Depending upon class, intervals and underlying Lithology the structures are proposed such as Nalla bund, stop dam, check dam, sub surface dykes, percolation tanks and recharge pits, that can be used by the planners while taking planning decisions.








 Water resources have become the casualty of intensive urbanization. Pollution of water bodies, lakes, rivers and contamination of precious groundwater. The Bhopal city is no exception to this and over a period of time, grave situation has cropped in. The high nitrate concentration is due to disposal of untreated sewage through open and unlined drains / Nallas and indiscriminately dumping of solid wastes without considering Hydrogeological situations.

The important part of urban development is sanitary system that is being given least priority. This can be achieved by designing better sewerage system for the entire city with provision of sewage treatment plants.

The water level has gone up to 150 meters below ground level. The reason is not very far to seek. The main trouble is that we have been siphoning the water out and we have forgotten to give back what we have drawn by means of recharging the water sources.

A considerable portion of the ground is covered with relatively impermeable layers of various paving materials; infiltration and evaporation are almost nil and most precipitation runs off.

In fact we should store at least 90%, if not the full amount of water which nature give us. To full fill the ever-increasing demand of water it is necessary to collect the water in water bodies and recharging the ground water sources. This is the only Mantra to improve the water level.

The main factors responsible for ground water resource development assessments are geology, geomorphology, lineaments; hydrology etc. Water potential zones are demarcated as high low and medium, sewage system for entire city has been identified. Rain water harvesting and water resource action plan is also proposed and characteristics of suitable land fill sites have been discussed (Fig. 4).

The drainage system of an area gives important clues of the sub surface conditions, which helps in deciphering ground water condition of that area. Water divide zones are delineated with the help of drainage map because; the zones where no percolation of water takes place are not suited for ground water storage.

The solid waste management is also an important aspect. Wherein best suitable land has been selected looking to the available topography and geological condition of the city. Safe distance from habited area suitability of treated affluent.

Rainwater harvesting is very important for urban development as the soil surface exposed to recharge gets drastically reduced and hence recharge gets diminished.




 Water resources are extremely sensitive and once degraded would take hundreds and even thousand of years to revive. Urban planners will have to give priority to conserve, protect and economic use of water resources. Every planning should have the essence of being a “Water Resource Friendly”.

Study of geology, geomorphology, lineaments, hydrology and Preparation water resource action plan with the help of remote sensing data and GIS application will give immense help to urban planners in preparation of master plan of any city, viz. location of recharge structures, land use, to tap surface run off and water potential zones. Solution of water is with in the development area itself.

It is expected that the study results if implemented would shape up the water scenario of Bhopal in an eco-friendly direction and scale down the overall exploitation thereby maintaining the equilibrium between the recharge and discharge.