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Application of water quality index, synthetic pollution index, and geospatial tools for the assessment of drinking water quality in the Indus Delta, Pakistan

  • Ghulam Shabir SolangiEmail author
  • Altaf Ali Siyal
  • Muhammad Munir Babar
  • Pirah Siyal
Article
  • 33 Downloads

Abstract

Seawater intrusion into the Indus Delta, Pakistan, has spoiled groundwater aquifers in the area. In the delta, the groundwater is widely used by residents for drinking. Considering the gravity of the problem, and concerns expressed by affected communities, the present study was conducted to assess and map the quality of groundwater, based on the physico-chemical properties of 180 samples, using two standard numerical indices, geospatial and statistical techniques. The analysis of water samples revealed that several parameters exceeded the drinking water quality guidelines suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO). The water quality index (WQI) identified that about 1.7%, 1.1%, 27.8%, 42.8%, and 26.6% of the water samples were excellent, good, poor, very poor, and unsuitable for drinking purposes, respectively. However, the synthetic pollution index (SPI) ranked the quality of 2.8%, 2.2%, 23.9%, 41.7%, and 29.4% as suitable, slightly polluted, moderately polluted, highly polluted, and unsuitable, respectively. Though the numerical model’s input is different, the proportionate ranking revealed a fair correlation (R2 = 0.75) between the outcomes of both indices. The results of the numerical indices and the interpolated geographical information system (GIS) mapping revealed that the quality of groundwater in most of the delta does not meet WHO guidelines for potable water. Hence, it is recommended that the groundwater of the delta should be properly treated before its use for domestic purposes. The study highlights the significance of using numerical indices and geospatial techniques for water quality evaluation in the Indus Delta and similar deltaic regions throughout the world.

Keywords

Coastal aquifers Physico-chemical parameters Spatial analysis Water quality indices Factor analysis Principal component analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was accomplished under the research project, titled, “Climate Change: Assessing the Impact of Seawater Intrusion on Soil, Water, and Environment in Indus Delta Using GIS and Remote Sensing Tools”. The project was funded by the USPCAS-W (U.S. - Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Water), at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro. The financial support and encouragement from the USPCAS-W, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, Pakistan are highly acknowledged. We are also grateful to Dr. Rick Bereit, Professor, The University of Utah, USA for his constructive comments and valuable suggestions regarding improvement of the manuscript.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mehran University of Engineering and TechnologyKhairpur Mir’sPakistan
  2. 2.U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W)Mehran University of Engineering and TechnologyJamshoroPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Land and Water ManagementSindh Agriculture UniversityTandojamPakistan
  4. 4.National Centre of Excellence in Analytical ChemistryJamshoroPakistan

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