Potential of Shallow Groundwater for Household Level Irrigation Practices in Tahtay Koraro Woreda, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia
This paper deals with the results of a pilot study conducted to estimate the shallow groundwater resource potential and irrigation capacity at the household level in Tahtay Koraro Woreda, northwestern zone of Tigray, Ethiopia. The potential evapotranspiration and actual evapotranspiration of the study area are estimated to be 1484 mm/year and 814 mm/year respectively. The runoff is approximately calculated to be 280 mm/year and the annual groundwater recharge is estimated to be 29 mm/year. The total annual groundwater abstraction for human, livestock, and irrigation is estimated to be 25 mm/year. It should be noted that the groundwater recharge rate is expected to remain constant while the total annual groundwater discharge is expected to increase from year to year. This relation when projected over a long period may result in a negative groundwater budget which can result in depletion of groundwater (lowering of groundwater levels), reduced baseflow to streams, and deterioration of water quality. The computed values for hydraulic conductivity of the aquifers range from 1.63 m/day to 7.27 m/day with an average value of 4.9 m/day and transmissivity from 48.9 m2/day to 218.1 m2/day with an average value of 147.14 m2/day. The aquifers in the highly weathered basalt and highly weathered siltstone – sandstone intercalation have transmissivity values ranging from 99 m2/day to 218.1 m2/day with an average value of 157 m2/day and are grouped into the moderate potentiality aquifers category. The aquifers in the slightly weathered and fractured metavolcanics grouped under low potentiality based on the lower transmissivity values (<50 m2/day). The study area has low to moderate groundwater potentiality, hence, large-scale groundwater pumping is not possible. Therefore, the current activity of using hand dug wells for household-level irrigation is the best way of using groundwater for irrigation and other uses as well. Increasing the depth of the existing hand dug wells that are constructed in highly weathered basalt and highly weathered siltstone – sandstone intercalation can also enhance the yield of the hand dug wells. It is recommended to use water-saving irrigation technologies rather than increasing the number of wells. This will also help in increasing the irrigation area. Groundwater recharge enhancement structures such as trenches, percolation ponds, and check dams be constructed in scientifically selected localities to further enhance the groundwater potential.
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