Recently water is becoming a vital natural resource which can be used for many things in human life i.e. hydropower generation, sanitation, drinking, irrigation and transportation. But surface water is not enough to satisfy this all demands of humans. So beside surface water, ground water resource is by far huge in amount and not much exploited yet. Now a day exploitation of ground water through hydrogeological surveying, identification and delineation of better groundwater potential areas is implemented in many places of the world to satisfy the need for water. This research was done on the place where it is called Wolaita zone located in southern region of Ethiopia. The main objective of this research was to delineate and map the ground water potential areas in terms of relative ground water availability. Groundwater potential zone mapping was done using GIS and remote sensing integrated with analytical hierarchical process to meet the objective. Seven thematic map layers (land use/cover, soil, slope, drainage density, lineament density, rainfall and geology) were used as an input to weighted overlay of layers for delineation of ground water potential zones. As a result, the study area was classified in to â€œpoorâ€, â€œgoodâ€ and â€œvery goodâ€ groundwater potential zones. Accordingly, â€œpoorâ€ and â€œgoodâ€ groundwater potential areas were occupying almost the same percentage from the total area which is 44.19% (198,0445ha) and 44.51% (199,460ha) respectively. But â€œvery goodâ€ ground water potential zones are covering 11.30% (50,652.2ha) of the study area. In this regard better ground water potential areas were identified in the east and northern east direction of the study area. Wolaita zone was also clustered in 12 woredas and one town. From all twelve woredas, High percentage of â€œvery goodâ€ ground water potential is found in Boloso sore, Duguna Fango, Boloso bombe and Damot sore woredas and relatively â€œpoorâ€ ground water potential is situated in Kindo Koyisha, Kindo Didaye, Ofa, Humbo and Sodo zuriya woredas and the remaining part of Wolaita zone is dominantly covered by â€œgoodâ€ ground water potential in Wolaita zone. Furtherly each woredas were also classified as â€œpoorâ€, â€œgoodâ€ and â€œvery goodâ€ groundwater potential zones with their percentage of area coverage. Therefore the identified groundwater potential areas can be used for digging of wells and bore holes, conducting further research, a bench mark for water resource management practice or as an input for policy makers to make research based decision.
Keywords: groundwater, GIS and RS, Mapping, Analytical hierarchical process, Wolaita zone