Delineation of groundwater potential zone and mapping using GIS/Remote Sensing techniques and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) for District Bhimber, Pakistan


  • Muhammad Shahid Usman
  • Ghani Rahman
  • Saira Munawar


Groundwater Potential Zones, Analytical Hierarchy Process, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, GIS, Bhimber


Groundwater plays a critical role in the sustainability of both ecosystems and human activities. This study presents an integrated methodology that combines the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Remote Sensing (RS) techniques. The main objective is to precisely delineate groundwater potential zones in the Bhimber district, leading to the creation of a comprehensive guide map for optimized groundwater exploration and utilization. This approach aims to promote sustainable resource management and overall development. The methodology involves data collection from diverse sources, including the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) for digital elevation models and remote sensing satellite images for thematic layers like geology, rainfall, slope, soil, drainage density, land use, and lineament density. Integration is facilitated through multicriteria evaluation. Using weighted overlay analysis and AHP-guided weight assignment, potential groundwater zones are systematically identified and mapped. The resulting groundwater potential map is categorized into four classes: Poor, Fair, Good, and Excellent. The findings reveal distinct patterns of groundwater potential in the district. The eastern region stands out with an excellent groundwater potential covering 26 square kilometres, attributed to substantial rainfall and the presence of water bodies. The mid-eastern and western sectors exhibit good potential (512 sq km), influenced by water bodies and consistent rainfall. Elevated terrains correspond to fair potential (779 sq km), while the upper north-east part indicates a Poor potential (24 sq km). This integrated approach enhances informed decision making, boosts resilience, and spurs socioeconomic development. Furthermore, the study contributes to scientific insights on groundwater dynamics, laying the groundwork for future research. The study underscores the effectiveness of GIS, RS and AHP in addressing complex groundwater management challenges, offering valuable information for global water resource management efforts.