Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 7, pp 2475–2488 | Cite as

Geoenvironmental appraisal of groundwater quality in Bengal alluvial tract, India: a geochemical and statistical approach

  • Tathagata Ghosh
  • Rolee KanchanEmail author
Original Article


Groundwater is an essential natural resource which has enormous use throughout the world, but with the enhanced population pressure, its quality and quantity gets affected. Consequently, assessment and categorization of groundwater quality is necessary and the availability of safe water for utilization is to be ensured. The present study was based on groundwater samples, collected over 5,324 km2 from the alluvial tract of Bengal plain, India. Ten geochemical parameters viz. arsenic, pH, total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity, iron, total hardness as calcium carbonate, sulphate, nitrite and depth were analysed, and multivariate statistical analyses were performed on the data set. Factor analysis depicted four factors, which explained 66.57 % of total variability of data. Factor 1 represented high positive loadings on total dissolved solids and electrical conductivity. Factor 2 was associated with depth, arsenic and iron and indicated process of reduction in groundwater. Over extraction of groundwater showed probable relationship with arsenic concentration in groundwater. Parameters of Factor 3 and 4 had been related with agricultural activities and local geological conditions. Further, four clusters observed from hierarchical cluster analysis, assisted in grouping groundwater geochemistry of the region. The results coupled with GIS facilitated in categorizing and mapping the groundwater quality.


Groundwater Alluvial tract Geochemical analysis Factor analysis Cluster analysis 



One of the authors (R K) is thankful to University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India for funding the Major Research Project “Arsenic in Groundwater in West Bengal—A Global Concern: Some Issues and Remedies” [F. No. 33- 79/2007 (SR)] .


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Faculty of ScienceThe M. S. University of BarodaVadodaraIndia

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