Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 210, Issue 1–4, pp 123–141 | Cite as

Effects of Land Use on Hydrochemistry and Contamination of Karst Groundwater from Nandong Underground River System, China



The Nandong Underground River System (NURS) is located in Southeast Yunnan Province, China. Groundwater in NURS plays a critical role in socio-economical development of the region. However, with the rapid increase of population in recent years, groundwater quality has degraded greatly. In this study, the analysis of 36 groundwater samples collected from springs in both rain and dry seasons shows significant spatial disparities and slight seasonal variations of major element concentrations in the groundwater. In addition, results from factor analysis indicate that NO 3 , Cl, SO 4 2− , Na+, K+, and EC in the groundwater are mainly from the sources related to human activities while Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO 3 , and pH are primarily controlled by water–rock interactions in karst system with Ca2+ and HCO 3 somewhat from anthropogenic inputs. With the increased anthropogenic contaminations, the groundwater chemistry changes widely from Ca-HCO3 or Ca (Mg)-HCO3 type to Ca-Cl (+NO3) or Ca (Mg)-Cl (+NO3), and Ca-Cl (+NO3+SO4) or Ca (Mg)-Cl (+NO3+SO4) type. Concentrations of NO 3 , Cl, SO 4 2− , Na+, and K+ generally show an indistinct grouping with respect to land use types, with very high concentrations observed in the groundwater from residential and agricultural areas. This suggests that those ions are mainly derived from sewage effluents and fertilizers. No specific land use control on the Mg2+ ion distribution is observed, suggesting Mg2+ is originated from natural dissolution of carbonate rocks. The distribution of Ca2+ and HCO 3 does not show any distinct land use control either, except for the samples from residential zones, suggesting the Ca2+ and HCO 3 - mainly come from both natural dissolution of carbonate rocks and sewage effluents.


Groundwater quality Land use Natural processes Karst Nandong China 



This research was funded by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2008CB417208); The China Environmental Health Project; Open foundation of Karst Dynamics Laboratory (No. kdl2008-06); Key Laboratory Cultivation Project: Guangxi Karst Dynamics Laboratory with the series number GuiKeNeng (No. 0842008). Thanks are given to Yinggang Li, Junbing Pu, and Qiong Xiao for their help in field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geographical SciencesSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Karst Environment and Rock Desert RehabilitationChongqingChina
  3. 3.Hoffman Environmental Research InstituteWestern Kentucky University, USABowling GreenUSA
  4. 4.Department of Geography and GeologyWestern Kentucky University, USABowling GreenUSA

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