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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                            
Phase 2 (2006 Deadline)

Assessment and Development of Renewable Ground Water Resources in the
Quetta Valley, Pakistan

Mohamed Sultan, Western Michigan University, and Shuhab Khan, University of Houston
Abdul Salam Khan, University of Balochistan, Quetta
Pakistani Funding (HEC):  $254,590
US Funding:    $199,986
Project Dates on US Side: February 1, 2007 - January 31, 2011

Project Overview

Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan, yet it has the lowest population density, largely due to the scarcity of its water resources. Furthermore, the indiscriminate and unplanned use of groundwater resources to meet water requirements in Balochistan in general and in the Quetta Valley in particular has led in recent years to unsustainable overexploitation of groundwater. This has progressively depleted groundwater levels in Quetta, which has had serious socioeconomic impacts due to the resulting migration of rural residents to urban areas. All of this points to the urgent need for assessing and developing the groundwater resources of the Quetta Valley. With funding previously provided by the United Nations Development Program and the Global Environmental Facility, researchers at one of the US partner institutions on this project, Western Michigan University, had developed cost-effective methodologies for groundwater assessment and exploration in arid lands. These experiences and methodologies were brought to bear in this project.

The partners involved in this project applied an integrated multidisciplinary approach for groundwater exploration in the Quetta Valley in which inferences from remote sensing data were integrated with observations extracted from other data sources, such as geochemistry, field geology, drilling, geophysics, and surface runoff and groundwater flow modeling to gain a better understanding of the hydrological setting and identify locations of potential productive wells.

Major Results

  • Developed the first calibrated hydrologic model for the northeastern part of the Pishin Lora (NEPL) basin using methodologies that rely heavily on readily available remote sensing data
  • Discovered that the construction of delay-action dams in the northeastern and northwestern sub-basins of the NEPL could increase recharge from 361 X 106 m3/year to up to 432 X 106 m3/year and achieve sustainable extraction
  • Discovered that Quetta Valley has experienced progressively increasing decline in groundwater levels in the last three decades and that the groundwater from the area has high concentrations of nitrate, sulfate, selenium, chromium and nickel
  • Constructed the hydrologic model for the Pishin Laura basin, that was also developed into a teaching module being taught in the GIS and remote sensing classes at Western Michigan University (WMU)
  • Trained 20 students and faculty members by workshop; one PhD student in WMU, one PhD student in University of Balochistan, and two undergraudate students in University of Houston were also trained under this project  

Progress Report Summaries

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