Kerala REGION, Trivendrum

The Kerala Region (KR) Office of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) with Trivandrum as its headquarters has jurisdiction over the entire Kerala State and Union Territory of Lakshadweep.


Jurisdiction Map of the Region

Ground water investigations in Kerala State, in the early years,were carried out by the Ground water Wing of the Geological Survey of India (GSI). During the period 1954 - 1960, as part of the exploration programme under ‘Technical Co-operation Mission with U.S. assistance’, five exploratory boreholes were drilled in Kerala by the erstwhile Exploratory Tube well Organization (ETO) and the Ground water Wing of the GSI. This was the first ground water exploration done in the State. Systematic hydrogeological surveys for ground water were also carried out in the State by the Ground water Wing of the GSI, Hyderabad. During 1969, GSIestablished an office in Trivandrum exclusively for hydrogeological surveys and this was known as Ground Water District Unit XXI. Subsequently, the Exploratory Tubewell Organization (ETO) and the Ground water Wing of the GSI were merged to form the Central Ground Water Board in 1972. A Unit Office of CGWB was started in 1978 at Trivandrum under the Southern Region, Hyderabad. A full-fledged Regional Office of CGWB started functioning in Kerala in 1989 with Kerala and U.T of Lakshadweep under its jurisdiction.



  1. Systematic hydrogeological studies have been completed in the entire Kerala State (38,893 and U.T. of Lakshadweep (32 and reports of these studies have been circulated to different user departments, administration and planning departments of the State & U.T.


  1. District groundwater management studies are taken up every year in one or two districts.  These surveys are carried out to assess the progressive developmental status of ground water resources for further availability and quality status. Entire State of Kerala has been covered.


  1. Ground water exploration through drillingof exploratory tube / bore wells is undertaken by the Boardfor demarcation of productive aquifer zones and to understand their characteristics in different hydrogeological settings.Tube wells / Bore wells have been drilled in all the districts of Kerala State which has helped in identification of deeper ground water potential fractured zones in hard rock and productive granular zones in sedimentary formations. More than 900 wells have been drilled in Kerala by CGWB using departmental rigs. Successful wells have been handed over to StateGovernment agencies free of cost for drinking water supply schemes.

  2. The sedimentary areas have been explored down to 600 m and characteristics of productive granular aquifers studied in detail.

  3. Exploration help to demarcate freshwater zones in the deep confined multi-aquifer systems in Alappuzha and Kollam districts for Drinking water supply schemes of Kerala Water Authority.

  4. In the drought-affected areas of Idukki district of Kerala, 10bore wells were also drilled through outsourcing.


  1. In order to monitor the ground water development scenario, CGWB is monitoring1680ground water observation wellsincluding piezometers in Kerala State four times a year (during January, April, August and November). Ground water samples are collected from select stations for water quality monitoring during April every year. The data collected during every monitoring is analysed and reports prepared on the behaviour of ground water levels and the same has been distributed to stakeholders.

  2. The database thus generated forms the basis for planning ground water development and management programs in the State. This data is used for assessment of ground water resources and changes in the ground water regime consequent to various development and management activities.

  3. 50 wells in Kerala and 1 well in Lakshadweep are being monitored by observers as part of Participatory Ground Water Monitoring Scheme.

  4. Select wells in Trivandrum City Corporation are being monitored once every month as part of Urban Water Level Monitoring.


  1. Monitoring of ground water quality is an effort to obtain information on chemical quality through representative sampling in different hydro-geological units.

  2. Chemical laboratory of the Kerala Region is equipped with sophisticated chemical equipment like  Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, UV-VIS Spectrophotometer with Auto Sample Analysis System, etc. apart from other equipment like microprocessor based pH meter, EC meter, Flame photometer etc. During the last decade, more than 8000samples have been analysed.

  3. The lab is empanelled by Kerala State Pollution Control Board for analysis of ground water samples.


  1. Quantification of ground water resources is one of the major inputs for planning ground water development and management.

  2. The dynamic ground water resources of the State are assessed periodically, jointly by the Central Ground Water Board and the State Groundwater Department, under supervision of a committee chaired by the Principal Secretary (Water Resources), Govt. of Kerala and with the Regional Director, CGWB, Kerala Region, Trivandrum as Convenor. The latest assessment was carried out during 2011. Assessment of ground water resources as in March 2013 have been completed and yet to publish the report.


  1. Central Ground Water Board renders technical advice to various Central and State organizations, NGOs, farmers and citizens for optimal ground water development, augmentation of water supply and scientific management of available resources. Organizations which have been benefitted include:

    • Various Central and State Government Organizations dealing with drinking water supply, environment and pollution control and planning commission etc.
    • Various Universities and Research Organizations
    • Defence  establishments
    • NGOs dealing with ground water related issues
    • Individual citizens & farmers


The advice/assistance rendered broadly includes:

    • Creation of awareness on the importance of judicious use of ground water and its conservation / protection from contamination.
    • Capacity building programs for State Government /PRI functionaries, farmers, students and NGOs on various aspects of ground water management.
    • Guidance for dissertations and projects for students of various universities and colleges in and outside the state.
    • Delivering expert talk, lectures in various Universities, Seminars, workshops etc.
    • Technical guidance for construction of ground water conservation structures and roof top rain water harvesting schemes. 
    • Technical investigations and advice on water supply and conservation (ARS and RWH) to various central, state and private agencies on request basis.
    • Investigations to render technical advice for the selection of sites for dug wells, bore wells and water harvesting structures for solving the drinking water problem in drought prone district of Palakkad.
    • Selection sites for water supply sources for water scarce habitations under Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission.


    Central Ground Water Board is a member of the following Committees constituted by the State Government:

    • State Level Scheme Sanctioning committee (SLSSC) under Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission (NRDWP) for clearing drinking water Schemes of Govt. of Kerala.
    • State Level steering Committee (SLSC) for World Bank aided Hydrology Project Phase II for monitoring and implementation of Hydrology Project Phase II in Kerala State.
    • State Level Standing Committee for Estimation of Ground Water Resources of Kerala.
    • State Level Technical Coordination committee for evaluation of Artificial Recharge Schemes in Kerala
    • Special invitee to State Ground Water Authority.
    • Task Force constituted to rationalize and streamline the functions of Departments and entities in the field of rural drinking water supply
    • Advisory Committee of the International and Inter-University Centre for Natural Resources Management, Government of Kerala.
    • Expert Committee on   Water    under  Technology for Transfer and Adaptations in Kerala
    • Kerala State Geological Programming Board (Dept. of   Mines   & Geology) - Member for chalking out work plan for Board’s AAP.
    • State Level Coordination Committee for Aquifer Mapping Studies
    • State Level Coordination Committee for Jal Kranti Abhiyan


    1. Need based water supply investigations are being carried out for various Defence Establishment and other Central and State agencies


    9.            Rajiv Gandhi Technology Mission Programme

    1. CGWB, Kerala Region took up the challenging task of micro level source finding for water supply to problem villages under the Government of India’s Technology Mission Programme.  The work carried out by CGWB, KR in Palakkad district received wide appreciation from the State Government.  Nearly 1800 sites were examined and 1710 sites were cleared for drilling in 146 villages.  A total numbers of 1457 bore wells were drilled.  It is highly creditable that almost 85% of these bore wells were proved to be highly successful with very good yield.  Nearly 57% of the drilled wells yielded up to 10,000 lph, 15% of the wells between 10,000 and 20,000 lph and 13% yielded above 40,000 lph.

    10.          SPECIAL STUDIES:

    1. The following special studies have been carried out by the Region over the years -

      1. Micro level studies in Fluoride affected areas of Palakkad District.

      2. Urban Hydro geological and pollution studies.

      3. Pollution studies in and around breweries and distilleries, nuclear plant and CPCB notified industrial clusters

      4. Impact assessment of existing AR structures.

      5. Impact of clay mining on the ground water regime in parts of Trivandrum district.

      6. Hydrogeological Studies along the coastal tracts with special emphasis on vulnerability to Sea Water Ingress, Trivandrum District, Kerala

    11.          TECHNICAL REPORTS:

    1. Reports of various studies being taken up by CGWB are published and made available in public domain. Aquifer maps of Kerala, District Hydrogeological reports and District brochures of Kerala highlighting the ground water scenario and ground water problems, Ground Water Year Books, Reports on Assessment of dynamic ground water resources, basic data reports of exploratory wells etc. have been published and made available to various stakeholders.


    1. In Kerala, State Ground Water Authority (SGWA) is in existence since 2005, which oversees various activities related to ground water overexploitation and contamination. District nodal officers of CGWB are members of District Level Evaluation committees constituted by SGWA, which carry out the following activities –

      1. Regulation of Ground Water Development & implementation of management by issuing no objection certificate for various industries and infrastructure firms including water intensive industries like packaged drinking water, paper and pulp, textile etc.

      2. Organization of Mass Awareness & Water Management Training Programmes from time to   time.

      3. Sensitization of stakeholders at grass root level on ground water conservation and management aspects.


    1. The aim of artificial recharge of ground water in Kerala by CGWB has been to demonstrate cost-effective techniques for replenishment of ground water in various hydrogeological settings. Demonstrative artificial recharge schemes have been implemented by the Board under the Central Sector Scheme for Recharge to ground water during various Plan periods at 27 locations in the State. Various recharge/conservation structuressuch as subsurface dykes, percolation tanks, recharge ponds, check dams and roof top rainwater harvesting structures were constructed under these schemes and handed over to local Panchayaths for further maintenance.

    2. Preliminary impact assessment studies carried out by CGWB have indicated rise in the local water levels and improvement in the sustainability of wells in the command areas of the artificial recharge structures.

    14.          GEOPHYSICAL STUDIES:

    1. Geophysical investigations, aimed at gathering information about the sub-surface lithological units by measuring their geo-electrical properties have been carried out to complement other scientific investigations.  

    2. Nearly 3000 Vertical Electrical Soundings have been carried out by employing Schlumberger or Wenner electrode configurations in the Region to complement various scientific investigations so far. Apart from this, about 68 line Km. resistivity profiling, 44 line Km. magnetic profiling, 44 line Km. VLF profiling, 6 line Km. HLEM profiling and 3 line Km. seismic profiling have also been carried out. In addition to these, a total of 278 bore holes have been logged by various logging techniques and 28 no. of boreholes logged by CCTV logging.

    15.          REMOTE SENSING STUDIES:

    1. LANDSAT imagery and remote sensing techniques are being extensively used for identifying ground water potential zones and sites for ground water exploration.

    16.          HYDROLOGY PROJECT

    1. Under World Bank aided Hydrology Project-I (HP), multi-disciplinary studies were taken up in Kerala. The project envisaged improving the existing data collection network through construction of observation wells and replacement of some of the existing observation wells; setting up and upgradation of chemical laboratories; establishment of national and State data banks, integration and transmission of data. 230piezometers have been constructed under the World Bank aided Hydrology Project in Kerala state.The ultimate aim of the project is to deliver a functional HIS and an improved institutional capacity of implementing agencies to build, operate and utilise the HIS to the benefit of various user agencies. This project has facilitated computerization of voluminous data collected over the years by CGWB. The Chemical Laboratory is upgraded to level 2 plus grade, Regional Office Data Centre is established with dedicated software(GEMS) and other supporting softwares.

    2. Under HP-II, thrust was given to scientific data collection, validation and dissemination of all related aspects of water. Awareness raising training programs for Hydrology Data User Groups (HDUG) was conducted under HP II. 


    1. FPARP Schemes were implemented in the following three institutes in Kerala State under Phase I & II.


    Name of Institute

    Technology adopted


    Centre for Water Resource Development and Management (CWRDM), Kunnamangalam, Kozhikode, Kerala State.

    Water-saving technologies through structural interventions. Promotion of channel to field irrigation in command area. Improvement of water use efficiency through improved crop protection.


    Regional Agriculture and Research Station (RARS), Pattambi, Palakkad District, Kerala State

    System of rice intensification, micro irrigation in arecanut, coconut and banana and mulching in horticultural crops.


    Centre for Plantation Crop and Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasargod District, Kerala

    Soil and Water conservation measures, low cost water harvesting structures.


    1. The Region organized various activities under the Information Education and Communication program of Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India. These include Painting Competitions for School Students, Water Management Training Programmes,  Mass awareness programmes etc on conservation and protection of ground water resources, Workshops, World Water Week Celebrations,  Display of slogans & hoardings on water conservation at various  Railway stations, Hoardings on water conservation in front the CGWB Office at Trivandrum, Printing of calenders of Painting competition on water conservation as well as  distribution of booklets on water conservation and artificial recharge.

      1. State Level Painting Competition: CGWB, KR has been conducting School and State Level Painting Competitions for school students of Kerala with the aim of spreading awareness on Water conservation among themsince 2011 as per the guidelines of Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. of India. More than 1 lakh students of 4th to 8thClasses have participated in event so far. 

      2. Workshops and Seminars: A number of workshops, seminars and linkage meetings between CGWB and allied organisations have been conducted, covering various aspects and addressing various issues of ground water and relevant to the state of Kerala.  

      3. Mass Awareness & Capacity Building Programs: Programs for creating public awareness and for building capacities of stakeholders at all levels on important aspects of ground water management & protection are being conducted by the Board every year.



      • Systematic Hydrogeological studies and micro-level studies carried out by CGWB in all the inhabited islands except Bitra(0.1

      • Exploratory drilling carried out at 5 locations in Kavaratti islands down to a depth of 30 m for detailed studies.

      • The hydrogeological studies reveal that the fresh water is confined to the depth of 2 to 10 m depending upon the ground elevation of the island.

      • In pursuance of a reference by Honorable High Court of Kerala in 1987, the feasibility of water supply scheme using ground water in Kavaratti Island was studied by CGWB.  The studies revealed that single point pumping is not feasible in the island due to the possibility of up-coning of saline water.

      • Studies indicated that pumping of ground water to cater to the water supply needs of the islands may not be sustainable on a long-term basis due to the limited thickness of fresh water lens.  This inference was also confirmed by Geophysical studies. 

      • Based on the studies, it was suggested to resort to rainwater harvesting or desalination of sea water for water supply and other major uses of fresh water.

      • CGWB has also implemented three demonstrative rain water harvesting schemes through Lakshadweep PWD under Central Sector Scheme in Kavaratti Island. 

      • Dynamic ground water resources of Lakshadweep islands as in 2011 have been computed jointly by CGWB and the Lakshadweep Administration.

      • U.T Level Paining competition on water conservation for school children is being conducted since 2012.