Groundwater Management Action Plan. Stage 2. Situation Analysis. Urban groundwater questionnaire. Lessons learnt from Bishkek and Narayanganj.
Neither of the cities studied had previously been the subject of a water Master Plan, or a study to assess the groundwater resource size, its scope for future exploitation and its development constraints. There is also no prospect of such a study in either city. In Bishkek, Kyrghyzstan, river basin-scale investigations had been undertaken in the 1970s to assess available resource on a broad regional scale as a standard national economic resource procedure under the former Soviet system. In Narayanganj, Bangladesh, investigations were very localised, limited to estimates of safe yield funded by Japanese technical assistance for the small municipal wellfield. In effect, groundwater has been developed opportunistically in both cities. This situation is so common as to be almost the norm for urban groundwater, and not just in developing countries.
There was therefore in both cities a premium on identification of either basic data arrays already collected for other purposes, or simple parameters easily collated from operational records. In Narayanganj, the standard of basic hydrogeological data was relatively poor, being limited to a handful of borehole logs in the centre of the city. In Bishkek, the standard of basic hydrogeological data was good, being comprehensive in parameters covered (geology, hydrogeology, water levels, location of wells etc), internally consistent and relatively up to date (mostly less than 20 years old). In both cities however routine monitoring information was poor, so that trends in aquifer usage and water quality were unknown. The groundwater setting in each city is included in the case studies summary in the orientation material.
The following points were added to the Urban Groundwater Questionnaire Guidance Notes from applying them to the case-study cities:
• Helpful information may come from material produced primarily for commercial marketing or economic statistics purposes.
• The questionnaire needs to be expanded to include district heating for this important use in the relevant climatic setting.
• The questionnaire proved to be a useful way to identify early on in a programme where vital data deficiencies occurred and to prioritise those that needed to be compensated for by supplementary fieldwork.
• The cross-sectoral nature of the required information may mean that sections are difficult for an individual to complete, either because the questions need interpretation to be able to identify the right level of detail, or it is unclear where to find the statistics.