Impact of city effluents on water quality of Indus River: assessment of temporal and spatial variations in the southern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

  • Ilham Khan
  • Azim Khan
  • Muhammad Sohail Khan
  • Shabnam Zafar
  • Asma Hameed
  • Shakeel Badshah
  • Shafiq Ur Rehman
  • Hidayat Ullah
  • Ghazala Yasmeen


The impact of city effluents on water quality of Indus River was assessed in the southern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Water samples were collected in dry (DS) and wet (WS) seasons from seven sampling zones along Indus River and the physical, bacteriological, and chemical parameters determining water quality were quantified. There were marked temporal and spatial variations in the water quality of Indus River. The magnitude of pollution was high in WS compared with DS. The quality of water varied across the sampling zones, and it greatly depended upon the nature of effluents entering the river. Water samples exceeded the WHO permissible limits for pH, EC, TDS, TS, TSS, TH, DO, BOD, COD, total coliforms, Escherichia coli, Ca2+, Mg2+, NO3, and PO42−. Piper analysis indicated that water across the seven sampling zones along Indus River was alkaline in nature. Correlation analyses indicated that EC, TDS, TS, TH, DO, BOD, and COD may be considered as key physical parameters, while Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl, F, NO3, PO42−, and SO42− as key chemical parameters determining water quality, because they were strongly correlated (r > 0.70) with most of the parameters studied. Cluster analysis indicated that discharge point at Shami Road is the major source of pollution impairing water quality of Indus River. Wastewater treatment plants must be installed at all discharge points along Indus River for protecting the quality of water of this rich freshwater resource in Pakistan.


City effluents Freshwater Indus River Pakistan Pollution Spatio-temporal variations Water quality Water chemistry 



The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from Higher Education Commission (HEC), Government of Pakistan, for conducting the laboratory analysis. We thank the staff of Institute of Chemical Sciences, Gomal University D.I.Khan; National Water Quality Lab. PCRWR, Islamabad, Pakistan; Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Gomal University D.I.Khan; and Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Kohat University of Science and Technology, for their laboratory facilities provided.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilham Khan
    • 1
  • Azim Khan
    • 1
  • Muhammad Sohail Khan
    • 2
  • Shabnam Zafar
    • 1
  • Asma Hameed
    • 1
  • Shakeel Badshah
    • 3
  • Shafiq Ur Rehman
    • 4
  • Hidayat Ullah
    • 1
  • Ghazala Yasmeen
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Chemical SciencesGomal UniversityDera Ismail KhanPakistan
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureGomal UniversityDera Ismail KhanPakistan
  3. 3.National Water Quality Laboratory, PCRWRIslamabadPakistan
  4. 4.National Water Quality Laboratory, PCRWRDera Ismail KhanPakistan
  5. 5.Institute of Chemical SciencesBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan

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