General Information

This  department is  functioning under  Irrigation Ministry, Govt. of Kerala. It is an independend  Department  headed by Director at Directorate of Ground Water Department, G.K.Tower, Pattom Palace. P.O, Kesavadasapuram, Thiruvananthapuram.


              All  district headquarters there is one office for Groundwater Department which is headed by District officer. District officers belong to different disciplines such as Hydrogeology, Geophysics and Engineering. District officer is assisted by Assistant Exe. Engineer, Hydrogeologist, Assistant Engineer, Jr. Hydrogeologist and Jr. Geophysicist.


              Functioning of this Department is mainly  by two wings such as Investigation  and Execution. Water Quality wing is also functioning at Directorate with analytical laboratory capable  for conducting different quality tests. Ground Water Department is the Nodal agency for State Govt. for construction of borewells.


               Objectives of this Department is to provide technical assistance in the field of exploration  and development of  Groundwater  to Govt. agencies,  Quazi govt. agencies , farmers and individuals.


       District Officer,

       Ground Water Department, 

       Civil Station, B-Block,

       Malappuram. Ph-0483-2731450.


Service available

Ground water   survey for identification of    suitable sites for different types of wells  such as  borewell, Tubewell, Filter pointwell and openwells.

Drilling Drilling  work  of   bore well is undertaken by Department on payment basis. Hand pump fitting and powerpump errection will be carried out on request. Supervision and measurement of work implemented by local bodies is also done on demand.

Small /Marginal and SC/ST farmers are   exempted from payment of survey charge subject to the production of  Small/Marginal farmer Certificate from concerned Krishi Officer/Tahasildar. In this category 50% subsidy for actual drilling cost is allowed  subject to the availability of Department Rigs.

Survey and Drilling charges
Sl. No Category Survey charge per site in Rs/ Mode of remittance
1 Individuals 300/ As chalan receipt, at District  Treassury, Malppuram after counter signature   from  this office
2 Institutions 600/
3 Industrial purpose 1500/
Drilling charge
4 110mm(4) dia Rs-185/Mtr As per Estimate
5 150mm(6)dia Rs-320/Mtr As per Estimate
There is no specific application format. However the application shall include  details such as  Name of applicant, Address, Type of well (Open well, Borewell), Area of land, Panchayat/Village, Distance from Malappuram etc.
Details of Schemes Implimented by District Office Malappuram.
Ground Water Department Investigation and Development

Under this Scheme the Department undertake investigation and  drilling work for  different types of wells  such as open wells, borewell, filterpoint wells etc, on payment basis  for Govt. agencies, Local bodies, Quazi Govt. agencies and private parties. Investigation  is free of charge  and 50% subsidy is allowed for  small and Marginal Farmers. 

Kerala Field well compensation scheme This scheme is indended to compensate the small and Marginal /SC / ST farmers  in case  the well  constructed by them  under technical guidance from this Dept. and  availing institutional finance happened to  fail or do not yield sufficient water for their purpose
Janakeeyasoothranam (Peoples campaign work) : As part  of this Department is actively involved in preparation of estimates, Identification of ground water sources  for mini water supply schemes of Grama Panchayats/ Block Panchayats and District Panchayat. Department is ready for all technical help to local bodies regarding construction of Bore wells, fitting Handpumps, powerpumps etc.
MPLAD Scheme

Under this  scheme identification of feasible sites, construction of borewells   and fitting of handpumps is carried out as per the work entrusted by District collector.   

Drought Relief Work Department is entrusted in the construction of borewells and fitting hand pumps in acute drinking water scarcity areas by District administration during  drought periods.
Physiography Physiographically  the district can be divided broadly into three types viz: coastal plains (less than 7.5 m), Midland (7.5-75 m) and highlands (above 75 m).  As per the state P W D classification.  The fig in this report shows the elevation of the district and inset figure shows the three divisions.  The Salient features of the unit are briefly described below.
Costal Plains The coastal plains extend as a narrow stretch of land lying along the coast from Kadalundi Nagaram in the north to Ponnani in the south.   It becomes  very narrow towards north of Tirur and the maximum width is seen along Chauravallam - Tirurangadi area.  Numerous backwater channels/lagoons in intersect this unit.

The area lying between the coastal plain in the west and the high ranges in the east is termed as Midlands.  This is the most prominent physiographic  unit of the district.  This is characterized by flat topped hillocks with steep 'U' shaped valleys and ridges.  The valley form potential area for agriculture including paddy, arecanut, vegetables, banana and coconut.  The hill tops are generally barren and are covered by thick and compact Laterite.


 The eastern parts of the district are characterized by steep hills,  gorges and escarpment. The elevation of the hill ranges goes upto 1127 m msl.  Most of the area is occupied by forests.


 Malappuram district is mainly drained by the Kadalundi river, Chaliyar and Bharathapuzha.  The Kadalundi river is formed by the confluence of its two main tributaries viz; the Olipuzha and the Veliyar.  The Olipuzha takes its origin from 'the Cherakkobban Mala' (+1160 m amsl) and the Veliyar originates from the forest of the 'Erattakomban Mala' (+1190 m amsl).  The Kadalundi river is 130 km long with a drainage area of 1274 sq. km. The river joins the Lakshadweep Sea at about 5 km south of the Chaliyar  river mouth.


The Chaliyar river, one of the major rivers of the State, originates from the Ilambalari Hills in Nilgiri district of Tamilnadu (+2066 m msl).  The river flows along the northern boundary of Malappuram district through Nilambur , Mambad, Edavanna, Areakode and Feroke.  It joins the Lakshadweep sea near Beypore.  The river is 169 km long with a drainage area of 2535 sq. km. In Kerala State.


The Bharathapuzha or the Ponnani river is the second longest river of Kerala, originating from the Anamalai Hills (+1964 m amsl) in the western ghats.  The river below the  confluence of Bharathapuzha and Gayathripuzha is called the Ponnani river.  It flows through the districts of Palakkad, Malappuram and Trichur and drains into the Lakshadweep Sea near Ponnani town in Malappuram district.  The drainage map of the district is shown in this report.

Drainage Characteristics

The drainage pattern of the three rivers in the district is generally dendritic.  Tidal effects are experienced in places such as Vallikkunnu and Tirurangadi, which are 6 to 8 km away from the coast.


Analysis of the drainage characteristics of the two basins revels that Kadalundi river is a fourth order stream, the Ponnani river is fifth order stream and the Chaliyar river is a seventh order stream. 

General Geology and structure

The district has a unique importance in the geological history.  Laterite was first identified in the area near Angadippuram Railway Station by Francis Buchanan.  This is the type area of Laterite.


Most of the district is underlain by Laterites and crystalline  rocks of Archaean Age.  Along the western coastal area Tertiary formation overlaid by recent alluvial deposits are seen.  Following is the stratigraphic succession of the district.

Stratigraphic succession of Malappuram District
Era Age Formation Lithology
Quarternary Recent Alluvium Sand and clays are seen along the coast, river alluvium and valley fills
Sub-Recent Laterite Latterite derived from crystalline rocks and Tertiary sediments.

Oligocene To Eocene

Vaikom beds

Sand, pebble and gravel bed clays and lignite are seen.
Undated Instruction Instruction of Gabbro Dolerite quartz veins, Granites etc.
Pre Cambriyan Archean ---


Charnockite gneiss


Hornblende biotite

Gneiss, schists


            The crystalline group of rocks in the district comprises of charnockite, charnockite gneiss, Biotite gneiss, biotite hernblende gneiss and migmatites.  Charnockites occupy maximum area in the district.  This rock type shows layering and foliation in most of the places.  Charnockites are exposed over the hills around Edavanna, palpatta, Pandikkad, manjeri, Nediyirippu and Nilambur area.  Occurrences of migmatites along with biotite gneiss and biotite hornblende gneiss are seen around Mambad, Wandur, Nilambur area.  A low grade banded Magnetite quartzite rock is seen along the Pandalur hills.


One of the major gabbro dykes seen in Kerala which is seen traversing tens of kilometers can be traced in the district through the extensive lengths of the district.  The dyke is seen from Cherukara south west of  Perinthalmanna  to North west of Manjeri.  The dyke is trending North West and the width of the dyke varies from 30 to 50 m.  At places the width goes to 100 m.  There are few sympathetic dolerite dykes also.  Apart from them few dolerite dykes are seen traversing the basement rocks.  Most of the dykes are running in a NW-SE direction.    

Tertiary formation Tertiary formations are seen along the western fringe of the district bordering the Lakshadweep sea.  Sandstone, clays with seams of lignite are seen and they are classified as the Vaikom beds of the Tertiary formation of Kerala.  The Tertiary sediments are lateritised at the top and where ever they are exposed only laterites are seen.  Exposure of Tertiary rocks are seen between Thirunnavaya and Kuttippuram and also around Tirur area.  These are overlain  by recent alluvial formation and the thickness of this formation is generally less than 75 m.  Bore holes drilled in the district gives the lithological sequence  and found that these formation are the thickest along the coast and thin towards the east.

This is the most important lithologic unit of the district and is widely seen almost all along the midland region of the district.  The thickness of the Laterite goes upto 25 m at places.  The laterites are derived from both the Tertiary formation and also the crystalline.  The laterites are highly porous and are very compact  and mainly occupy the hill top areas as Laterite capping.  Also occupy in low land areas where thickness is very meager. They are cut into bricks and are used as very good building stones not only in Malappuram district but also in entire Malabar area.  Below the Laterite thick lithomargic clay is seen and at places  large caves have developed by leaching out of the lithomarge clays.  Such caves are seen near Chappanangadi, Kuttippuram area in the district.


 The alluvial formation of the district can be divided into three namely the coastal alluvium seen all along the cost, the river alluvium seen by the sides/banks of major rivers and valley fills seen all along the midland area along the valleys.  The coastal alluvium has got a thickness of upto 15 m and Red Teri sands are seen as a narrow strip along the coast between Pallikara and Pariyapuram.  These are sands with iron coating associated with heavy minerals.  The thickness of the Teri sands range from less than a meter to 9.0 m as is seen in the bore hole at Pariyapuram.


The river alluvium are seen along the major rivers.  Major deposits are seen along the Chamaravattom, Thiruvegapa, Kuttippuram are by the side of Bharathapuzha river (Ponnani river).  Valley fill deposits are seen all along the major valleys in the district. Most of the paddy lands of the District are  occupying the valleyfilled areas.  They are generally made up of flood plain deposits and materials eroded from the beighboring hills and slopes.  The geological Map of the  district is given in the end of  this report.


The regional strike of foliation in the crystalline rocks  are    NNE-SSW to N 20 W to S 70 E with steep dips varying from 70 to near vertical.  The general foliation direction is NW -SE.  Three sets of joints are generally seen in the area.  They are strike joints, dip joints and joints trending N 15 E to 15 W.


Various Tectonic deformations had taken place and there are four major sets of tensile open fractures.  Tthey are E-W,NE-SW, NEW-SSW and NNW-SSE.


Malppuram district is not rich in mineral wealth. Laterite stone is found abundantly in the midland areas. It is exploited economically for construction work and hundreds of quarries  cutting laterite stone known as  vettukallu are in operation, giving employment to thousands.  


Deposits of limeshells are found in the coastal belt,  mainly in Ponnani and Kadalundinagaram. The coastal sands of Ponnani and Veliyancode contain  heavy mineral like Ilmanite and Monosite.  China clay, the principal row material for porcelain Industry is found  abundantly in many parts of the district. Iron ore as  magnetite-Quartzite is found in Nilambor, Vaniambalam, Kalikavu and Chembrassery.   


Nilambur region of the district, forms part of the hidden Wayanad gold fields. Placer gold. The two main zones for auriferous gravels are in Nilamboor valley, namely Pandippuzha-Chaliyarpuzha zone and Punnapuzha-Maruthapuzha zone .

Acquifer System

The aquifer system in district can be broadly divided into hard rock aquifer, sedimentary aquifers and the Laterite aquifers.  Hard rock aquifers and Laterite aquifers constitute major part of the district.

Ground Water Occurrence

Ground Water occurs under phreatic, semiconfined and confined conditions along the foliation planes and joints and mainly along the horizontal to low dipping fracture zones and vertical to subvertical deep seated fractures in the crystalline rocks.  The porespace present in the weathered rocks, lithomarge, Laterite and alluvium from potential phreatic aquifers in the area.

Ground water in crystalline formations

In the crystalline rocks of the area viz. Charnockite, biotite gneiss and migmatite the occurrence and movement of ground water are dominantly controlled by the nature and extent of weathering and the presence of structural features like fractures, joints and shearzones which generally varies from place to place.  Ground water occurs in the secondary intergranular pores and voids, under unconfined conditions  in the shallow weathered and fractured mantle and under semidonfined to confined conditions in the deeper fracture zones.


Based on the nature of rock material there are two types of crystalline aquifer (1) weathered aquifer  (2) fractured aquifer.


Weathered rock forms potential aquifers and the thickness of weathered rock ranges from 4 to 12 Mtrs. Below ground level along valley potions in the area.  Ground water developed mostly by means of dug wells.


Fractured aquifers in the crystalline areas form potential aquifers and ground water occurs under semi-confined to confined conditions.  The occurrence and movement of ground water is controlled by the presence of lineaments , fractures and joint pattern.  Ground water is developed by means of bore well.

Ground Water in Laterite

The laterite which occupies the midland region constitutes the potential aquifer because of the porous and highly permeable nature. Ground Water occurs under water table conditions. The depth of dug wells varies from 3 to 15 m bgl. The bottom part the wells are mainly of lithomargic clay and becomes low yielding during peak summer periods.        

Ground Water in costal alluvial formations  The costal alluvium is essentially composed of sand, silt and clay. The Ground Water occurs under water table conditions. Large number of dug wells and filter point wells tap this aquifer to meet the domestic and agricultural needs. Depth of dug wells varies 3 to 8 mtrs
Ground Water Recharge

Recharge   to  Ground Water  takes place immediately on the begining   of Monsoon. Monsoon starts almost during the end of  May and by the starting of June. June to September   is the recharging period  corresponding to rainfall received in the area. >From December onwards  water level depletion starts and it reaches peak  during  the end of May.

       Last Updated on 16-07-2005                 TOP                    BACK