Assessment of groundwater quality is an important aspect of water security, which is the key to ensure sustainable development. The objective of the study is to bring out an integrated approach for assessment of groundwater quality for drinking and irrigation purposes. Gogi region, Karnataka, India was chosen as the study area due to the effect of the presence of medium-grade uranium deposits. An integrated approach including the concentration of major ions, trace elements and uranium was employed to investigate the quality of groundwater. Totally, 367 groundwater samples were collected periodically from 52 wells distributes over the Gogi region and the parameters such as pH, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, Cl−, SO42−, NO3−, Zn, Pb, Cu, and uranium of groundwater were analysed. Spatial distribution maps of various chemical constituents were prepared using geographic information system and its temporal variation was plotted in box and whisker plot. The analytical data were compared with Bureau of Indian Standards and World Health Organisation standards to determine drinking water quality and parameters such as salinity hazard, alkalinity hazard and percent sodium were estimated to assess the irrigation quality. Multivariate statistical analysis by cluster analysis was also performed which results in two groups consisting of wells with unsuitable water for drinking purposes. Groundwater in about 15% of the sampling wells were found to be unsuitable for domestic purpose based on TDS and about 17% were unsuitable based on uranium concentration. Finally, integration of spatial variation in TDS and uranium reveals that about 25% of the wells were unsuitable for domestic purposes. It is suggested that such an integrated approach needs to be formulated considering major ions, trace elements and radioactive elements for proper assessment of water quality. Implementation of managed aquifer recharge structures in the study area is suggested since it would potentially reduce the concentration of ions.
Hydrogeochemistry Trace elements Uranium Cluster analysis Water quality
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The authors would like to thank the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India (Grant No. 2009/36/71-BRNS/1690) for their financial support.
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