Groundwater quality evaluation for different uses in the lower Ketar Watershed, Ethiopia

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Groundwater quality samples from 33 wells were collected in the lower Ketar watershed (Ethiopia) to study its suitability for domestic and irrigation purposes. Samples were evaluated for major ions and physicochemical properties. In 58% of the samples analyzed, Ca2+ is the dominant cation and Na+ dominates the remaining 42% of the samples. Among the anions found during analyzation, HCO3 is the solo dominant ion in all the wells sampled. The order of the concentration of the major ions was Ca2+ > Na+ > Mg2+ > K+ for the cations and HCO3 > SO42− > Cl > NO3 for the anions. AquaChem analysis shows that Ca–HCO3 and Na–HCO3 are the major water types in the area. The analyses indicated that the dissolution of fluorite or fluorapatite is the possible source of the high fluoride concentration in the area. And, the interactions between water and rock and cation exchanges mainly determine the water quality. The suitability of the groundwater for use in irrigation was evaluated based on the salinity (EC), SAR, %Na, RSC, PI, KR, and the USSL Salinity diagram. The groundwater from most of the wells can be used for irrigation without any significant restriction except for a few of the wells downstream. Its suitability for domestic use was evaluated by comparing with the WHO standard limits. The parameters limiting the use of this groundwater for drinking purposes are F (94%), HCO3 (45%), and Ca2+ (33%). All the remaining major cations and anions complied with the WHO standard limits for drinking.

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The data collection and laboratory analysis were supported by a research grant from the Adama Science and Technology University (Ethiopia). The remaining work was funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) as Demand Responsive Water Supply Service Program (146515) and Basic Research Project (19‐3411) of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT.

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Correspondence to Il-Moon Chung.

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Table 7 Field measured data and ion analysis data of the sampling sites

7 and Fig. 

Fig. 8

Saturation index of the calcite and fluorite in each of the sampling sites


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Tolera, M.B., Choi, H., Chang, S.W. et al. Groundwater quality evaluation for different uses in the lower Ketar Watershed, Ethiopia. Environ Geochem Health (2020) doi:10.1007/s10653-019-00508-y

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  • Lower Ketar
  • Groundwater suitability
  • Water quality parameters
  • Saturation index
  • Statistical correlation analyses