Identification of hydrogeochemical processes and their influence on groundwater quality for drinking and agricultural usage in Wadi Nisah, Central Saudi Arabia
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Groundwater quality of a region is often controlled by the geochemical processes that operate with respect to the aquifer-water interaction, especially in arid regions where rainfall recharge is minimal. The goal of the present research was to understand the hydrochemical processes influencing groundwater chemistry and to evaluate groundwater quality for drinking and agricultural usage in Wadi Nisah and Wadi Al-Awsat, south of Riyadh. Twenty-nine groundwater samples were analyzed for major physio-chemical parameters. Ionic plots, chloro-alkaline indices, and modified Piper plots point towards reverse ion exchange. Saturation indices and correlation coefficients indicate halite, calcite, and dolomite dissolution. The Piper plot shows that most of the groundwater samples (82.76%) are of the (Ca + Mg)–(Cl-SO4) type. The groundwater quality is not good for drinking due to its high total dissolved solid (TDS) content. The groundwater is found to be suitable for irrigation in terms of residual sodium carbonate, sodium adsorption ratio, soluble sodium percentage, Kelly’s index, and magnesium hazard. The high salinity is unsuitable for irrigation; however, this can be overcome by using salinity-resistant crop varieties.
KeywordsArid regions Wadi Nisah Hydrochemistry Groundwater quality
The authors extend their appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding this work through research group (no. RG-1439-031).
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