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Setting up a new CZO in the Ganga basin: instrumentation, stakeholder engagement and preliminary observations
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  • Surya Gupta,
  • Shivam Tripathi,
  • Rajiv Sinha,
  • Sri Harsha Karumanchi,
  • Debajyoti Paul,
  • Sachchida Nand Tripathi,
  • Indra SEKHAR Sen,
  • Saroj Kumar Dash
Surya Gupta

Corresponding Author:suryagupta479@gmail.com

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Shivam Tripathi

Corresponding Author:shiva@iitk.ac.in

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Rajiv Sinha

Corresponding Author:rsinha@iitk.ac.in

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Sri Harsha Karumanchi

Corresponding Author:harsha.karumanchi@gmail.com

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Debajyoti Paul

Corresponding Author:dpaul@iitk.ac.in

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Sachchida Nand Tripathi

Corresponding Author:snt@iitk.ac.in

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Indra SEKHAR Sen

Corresponding Author:isen@iitk.ac.in

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Saroj Kumar Dash

Corresponding Author:saroj@iitk.ac.in

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The Ganga plains represent the abode of more than 400 million people and a region of severe anthropogenic disturbance to natural processes. Changing agricultural practices, inefficient use of water, contamination of groundwater systems, and decrease in soil fertility are some of the issues that have affected the long-term resilience of hydrological processes. The quantification of these processes demands a network of hydro-meteorological instrumentation, low-cost sensors, continuous engagement of stakeholders and real time data transmission at a fine interval. We have therefore set up a Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) in a small watershed (21 square Km ) that forms an intensively managed rural landscape consisting of 92% of agricultural land in the Pandu River Basin (a small tributary of the Ganga River). Apart from setting up a hydrometeorological observatory, the major science questions we want to address relate to development of water balance model, understanding the soil-water interaction and estimation of nutrient fluxes in the watershed. This observatory currently has various types of sensors that are divided into three categories: (a) spatially not dense but temporally fine data, (b) spatially dense but temporally not fine data and(c) spatially dense and temporally fine data. The first category represent high cost sensors namely automatic weather stations that are deployed at two locations and provide data at 15 minute interval. The second category includes portable soil moisture, discharge and groundwater level at weekly/ biweekly interval. The third category comprises low-cost sensors including automatic surface and groundwater level sensors installed on open wells to monitor the continuous fluctuation of water level at every 15 minutes. In addition to involving the local communities in data collection (e.g. manual rainfall measurement, water and soil sampling), this CZO also aims to provide relevant information to them for improving their sustainability. The preliminary results show significant heterogeneity in soil type, cropping system, fertilizer application, water quality, irrigation source etc. within a small catchment.