Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 369–384 | Cite as

Geostatistical and geochemical model-assisted hydrogeochemical pattern recognition along the groundwater flow paths in Coimbatore district, South India

  • P. J. Sajil KumarEmail author
  • E. J. James


The deterioration of groundwater quality in Coimbatore district is principally attributed to the geological formations, application of agrochemicals and discharge of untreated industrial effluents. Groundwater samples were collected and analysed to obtain the hydrochemical characteristics for delineating the groundwater recharge and discharge zones. Alkaline water is present in the district during all seasons. Groundwater facies were evaluated and the majority of them were CaHCO3 and Ca–Na–HCO3 types. Generally, HCO3 was used to identify the recharge area and Cl the discharge area. Dominance of HCO3 in both water types helps in identifying the recharge zones. The TDS and major ions in conjunction with HCO3/Cl, SO4/HCO3, HCO3 + CO3/Ca + Mg, HCO3 + CO3/T.anions and Cl/T.anions were used in the delineation of recharge–discharge areas. Results of geochemical modelling using PHREEQC were in agreement with the analysis of ionic ratios. Carbonate minerals are saturated in the recharge zone and become undersaturated as the flow progresses. HCO3 to Cl types for the recharge to discharge zones were confirmed by the aqueous speciation modelling. Gradual increase of NO3 along the flow path also supported the increasing anthropogenic influences towards the discharge zone. The spatial distribution diagrams drawn for each of these ratios suggested that a major part of the study area is covered by recharge zones. Mettupalayam and Pollachi taluks were found to be discharge zones. The results of the study showed that the water quality in the discharge zones is largely controlled by anthropogenic activities. The study gains importance since part of the water supply to the Coimbatore corporation area is from a source in the neighbouring state and the major surface water source of this area comes under an interstate water dispute.


Groundwater Hydrochemistry Geochemical modelling Geostatistical modelling Groundwater flow paths Coimbatore district 


  1. Alhumoud, J. M., Al-Ruwaih, F. M., & Al-Dhafeeri, Z. M. (2010). Groundwater quality analysis of limestone aquifer of Al-Sulaibiya field, Kuwait. Desalination, 254, 58–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. APHA. (2005). Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (21st ed.). Washington, DC: American Public Health Association/American Water Works Association/Water Environment Federation.Google Scholar
  3. CGWB. (2008). District groundwater brochure Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu. Technical report series.Google Scholar
  4. Chebotarev, I. (1955). Metamorphism of natural waters in the crust of weathering. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 8, 137–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gattacceca, J. C., Vallet-Coulomb, C., Mayerb, A., Claude, C., Radakovitch, O., Conchetto, E., et al. (2009). A Isotopic and geochemical characterization of salinization in the shallow aquifers of a reclaimed subsiding zone: The southern Venice Lagoon coastland. Journal of Hydrology, 378, 46–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Guo, X., Zuo, R., Shan, D., Cao, Y., Wang, J., Teng, Y., et al. (2017). Source apportionment of pollution in groundwater source area using factor analysis and positive matrix factorization methods. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 23(6), 1417–1436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ibrahim, R. G. M., & Lyons, W. B. (2017). Assessment of the hydrogeochemical processes affecting groundwater quality in the eocene limestone aquifer at the desert fringes of El Minia Governorate, Egypt. Aquatic Geochemistry, 23, 33–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jebastina, N., & Arulraj, G. P. (2017). GIS based assessment of groundwater quality in Coimbatore district, India. Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology, 7(3), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Khatri, N., & Tyagi, S. (2015). Influences of natural and anthropogenic factors on surface and groundwater quality in rural and urban areas. Frontiers in Life Science, 8, 23–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kim, Y., Lee, Kwang-Sik, Koh, Dong-Chan, Lee, Dae-Ha, Lee, Seung-Gu, Park, Won-Bae, et al. (2003). Hydrogeochemical and isotopic evidence of groundwater salinization in a coastal aquifer: A case study in Jeju Volcanic Island, Korea. Journal of Hydrology, 270, 282–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Martos, F. S., Bosch, P. A., & Calaforra, J. M. (1999). Hydrogeochemical processes in an arid region of Europe (Almeria, SE Spain). Applied Geochemistry, 14, 735–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Merkel, B. J., & Planer-Friedrich, B. (2008). Groundwater geochemistry—A practical guide to modeling of natural and contaminated aquatic systems (2nd ed., p. 177). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Mondal, N. C., Saxena, V. K., & Singh, V. S. (2005). Assessment of groundwater pollution due to tannery industries in and around Dindigul, Tamilnadu, India. Environmental Geology, 48, 149–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mondal, N. C., Singh, V. S., Saxena, V. K., & Singh, V. P. (2011). Assessment of seawater impact using major hydrochemical ions: A case study from Sadras, Tamilnadu, India. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 177, 315–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nagarajan, R., Rajmohan, N., Mahendran, U., & Senthamilkumar, S. (2010). Evaluation of groundwater quality and its suitability for drinking and agricultural use in Thanjavur city, Tamil Nadu, India. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 171, 289–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nasiri, H., Boloorani, A. D., Sabokbar, H. A. F., Jafari, H. R., Hamzeh, M., & Rafii, Y. (2012). Determining the most suitable areas for artificial groundwater recharge via an integrated PROMETHEE II-AHP method in GIS environment (case study: Garabaygan Basin, Iran). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. doi: 10.1007/s10661-012-2586-0.Google Scholar
  17. Ophori, D. U., & Toth, J. (1986). Patterns of ground-water chemistry, Ross Creek Basin, Alberta, Canada. Ground Water, 27, 20–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Parkhurst, D. L. & Appelo, C. A. J. (1999). User’s guide to PHREEQC (Version 2) – a computer program for speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations. Water Resources Investigations Report 99–4259, 32. Washington, DC: US Geological Survey.Google Scholar
  19. Piper, A. M. (1953) A graphic procedure in the geochemical interpretation of water analysis. Trans. United States Geological Survey, Groundwater Notes 12.Google Scholar
  20. Rosenthal, R. (1987). Chemical composition of rainfall and groundwater in recharge areas of the Bet Shean–Harod multiple aquifer system, Israel. Journal of Hydrology, 89, 329–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ryzhenko, B. N., & Cherkasova, E. V. (2011). Hydrogeochemical processes in closed and open water–rock systems. Petrology, 19, 26–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sajil Kumar, P. J. (2017). Geostatistical modeling of fluoride enrichment and nitrate contamination in the groundwater of Lower Bhavani Basin in Tamil Nadu, India. Modeling Earth Systems and Environment, 3, 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sajil Kumar, P. J., & James, E. J. (2016). Identification of hydrogeochemical processes in the Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu, India. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 61(4), 719–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Saraf, A. K., Choudhury, P. R., Roy, B., Sarma, B., Vijay, S., & Choudhury, S. (2004). GIS based surface hydrological modelling in identification of groundwater recharge zones. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 25, 5759–5770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schoeller, H. (1965). Hydrodynamique lans lekarst (ecoulemented emmagusinement). Actes Colloques Doubronik, I: AIHS et UNESCO (pp. 3–20).Google Scholar
  26. Selvakumar, S., Chandrasekar, N., & Kumar, G. (2017). Hydrogeochemical characteristics and groundwater contamination in the rapid urban development areas of Coimbatore, India. Water Resources and Industry, 17, 26–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shankar, M. N. R., & Mohan, G. (2005). A GIS based hydrogeomorphic approach for identification of site-specific artificial-recharge techniques in the Deccan Volcanic Province. Journal of Earth System Science, 114, 505–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Subba Rao, N. (1993). Environmental impact of industrial effluents in groundwater regions of Visakhapatnam Industrial Complex. Indian Journal of Geology, 65, 35–43.Google Scholar
  29. Subba Rao, N. (2007). Groundwater quality as a factor for identification of recharge zones. Environmental Geosciences, 14, 79–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Subba Rao, N., Rao, J. P., Devadas, D. J. Srinivasa, Rao, K. V., Krishna, C., & Nagamalleswara Rao, B. (2002). Hydrogeochemistry and groundwater quality in a developing urban environment of a semi-arid region, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. Journal of Geological Society of India, 59, 159–166.Google Scholar
  31. Subramani, T., Rajmohan, N., & Elango, L. (2010). Groundwater geochemistry and identification of hydrogeochemical processes in a hard rock region. Southern India Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 162, 123–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Toth, J. (1984). The role of regional gravity flow in the chemical and thermal evolution of groundwater. In Proceedings of the first Canadian/American conference on hydrogeology, Banff, Alberta.Google Scholar
  33. Triki, I., Trabelsi, N., Zairi, M., & Ben Dhia, H. (2014). Multivariate statistical and geostatistical techniques for assessing groundwater salinization in Sfax, a coastal region of eastern Tunisia. Desalination and Water Treatment, 52(10–12), 1980–1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vasanthavigar, M., Srinivasamoorthy, K., Ganthi, R. R., Vijayaraghavan, K., & Sarma, V. S. (2012). Characterisation and quality assessment of groundwater with a special emphasis on irrigation utility: Thirumanimuttar sub-basin, Tamil Nadu, India. Arabian Journal of Geosciences, 5, 245–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wani, R. A., Skinder, B. M., Tanveer, A., & Ganai, B. A. (2017). Drinking quality assessment of some groundwater sources along the stretch of Jhelum River in Kashmir Himalaya. Environmental Earth Sciences. doi: 10.1007/s12665-017-6960-7.Google Scholar
  36. Zahid, A., Balke, K. D., Qumrul, M. H., & Flegr, M. (2006). Evaluation of aquifer environment under Hazaribagh leather processing zone of Dhaka city. Environmental Geology, 50, 495–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geological Sciences, Hydrogeology GroupFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Water InstituteKarunya UniversityCoimbatoreIndia

Personalised recommendations