Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Antarpreet Jutla

Committee Co-Chair

Lian-Shin Lin

Committee Member

Lian-Shin Lin

Committee Member

Timothy Andrew Warner


The Indus Basin has supported agricultural practices since the Harappan civilization (3000-1500 BC). Abundance of water has always supported agriculture in the region and built the Indus Basin as one of the major agriculture based economies of the world. The obvious dependency of agriculture on weather and the vagaries of climate emphasizes the necessity of a comprehensive hydro-climate study of the region. The role of climate change in the Indus Basin has always been a contentious issue. Groundwater depletion is evident in the region, and its steady and alarmingly declining rate has brought concerns for the future of agriculture in the Indus Basin.

In this study, spatial and temporal trends of the hydro-climatic parameters; precipitation, air temperature, and snow cover, were determined to address changes in such processes. No statistically significant changes were observed in hydro-climatological processes that could lead to agriculture failure, but recently the prospect of permanent desertification has been lingering over some parts of the Indus Basin. The origin of this situation lie in unmonitored and extensive tapping of historically untouched groundwater resources for irrigation purposes. Punjab, a state in North-West India, is considered to be fundamental to India’s food security was chosen to assess the groundwater depletion. It is found out that, with the current rate of groundwater depletion and with paddy as a mainstream crop, total groundwater depletion is inevitable in coming decades. We have generated a series of groundwater scenarios using aquifer data to challenge the notion of paddy dominant cropping system and have produced timelines to identify the time when the water required for paddy cultivation has or will surpass the total volume of groundwater that can be provided by certain aquifer over that specific area. This study clearly indicates that the exponential increase in paddy cultivation has put the groundwater resources under stress and it is just a matter of time that what has been happening in some part of Indus Basin becomes the dominant fate of the region.