Assessment of groundwater quality for the irrigation of melon farms: a comparison between two arable plains in northeastern Iran

  • Maliheh Masoumi
  • Mohamad Hosein Mahmudy GharaieEmail author
  • Hossein Ahmadzadeh
Original Article


Obtaining groundwater of a suitable quality for irrigating crops can be difficult in semi-arid regions in low-income countries like Iran, particularly under conditions where annual rainfall may be declining due to the effects of climate change. Due to substantial difference in the melon production of two important groundwater basins in the Jim-Abad and Torbate-Jam areas in northeastern Iran, groundwater was sampled from 23 wells from these basins and chemically analyzed for physicochemical parameters appropriate for irrigation. These data were used to determine sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), salinity hazard (SH) and irrigation water quality index (IWQI) values and were subjected to statistical assessment to determine the key factors that influence the chemical composition of groundwater in the area. The results of the IWQI survey indicated that 67% of groundwater samples from the Jim-Abad plain and all but one of the samples from the Torbate-Jam plain had a severe limitation for irrigation use. A Piper plot indicated that groundwater quality in the two basins was dominated by sodium and chloride ions. A Gibbs plot suggests that evaporation is the dominant control on groundwater quality in the two basins, although there appears to a significant influence of water–rock reactions in the Torbate-Jam basin. An assessment of the data using cluster analysis and principal component analysis suggests that carbonate dissolution under the influence of the common ion effect also has a significant effect on the quality of groundwater in the region.


IWQI Irrigation Jim-Abad Torbate-Jam Cluster analysis Groundwater 



Ferdowsi University of Mashhad provided financial support (#3/45798). We would like to thank Ms. Masumeh Taheri for her valuable comments and Mr. M. Enghiadi Komiz for the GIS analytical supports. We also express gratitude to Mr. Ghasem Dadgar, Yaser Sharifi and Ali Reza Rabbani for participation in field works and sampling process.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maliheh Masoumi
    • 1
  • Mohamad Hosein Mahmudy Gharaie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hossein Ahmadzadeh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of ScienceFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran

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