Skip to main content

Seawater intrusion caused by unmanaged groundwater uses in a coastal tourist area, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Abstract

The Cox’s Bazar region at the southeastern coast of Bangladesh has been gradually changed from a rural settlement into a densely populated urban area, caused by the rapid growth of tourism. Water demand is mainly covered by groundwater, and the hotels and resorts are typically operating their own groundwater wells without metering and regulations. In this study, the temporal and spatial variations in groundwater quality and hydraulic heads in the Cox’s Bazar area were evaluated over a period of 2 and 4 years respectively, to analyze the effects of the groundwater extractions on the status of the groundwater resources. Due to the pronounced seasonality of rainfall, the aquifer system was found to be highly dynamic even without human interference and seawater intrusion into the aquifers from the Bay of Bengal as well as from the Bakkhali river in the north was detected. The groundwater abstraction caused groundwater levels in some touristic centers to be already permanently below sea level, and a trend to a further lowering of hydraulic heads was observed. This coincides with an overall trend of increasing electrical conductivities in the groundwater. For a sound and sustainable development of the Cox’s Bazar region, water management strategies and a regulatory framework have to be developed that consider the specific conditions in such a coastal zone.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  • Adeleke OO, Makinde V, Eruola AO, Dada OF, Oko AO, Aluko TJ (2015) Estimation of groundwater recharges using empirical formulae in Odeda local government area, Ogun State, Nigeria. Challenges 6:271–281. https://doi.org/10.3390/challe6020271

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ahmad QK (2000) Bangladesh water vision 2025: toward a sustainable water world, Bangladesh Water Partnership, Dhaka. http://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H024606.pdf. Accessed 28 June 2017

  • Alam MK, Hasan AKMS, Khan MR, Whitney JW (1990) Geological map of Bangladesh. Geological Survey of Bangladesh, Dhaka

    Google Scholar 

  • Appelo C, Postma D (1999) Geochemisrty, groundwater and pollution. Balkema, Rotterdam

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakari SS, Aagaard P, Vogt RD et al (2012) Delineation of groundwater provenance in a coastal aquifer using statistical and isotopic methods, Southeast Tanzania. Environ Earth Sci 66:889–902. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-011-1299-y

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • BBS (2013) Statistical yearbook of Bangladesh 2012. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), Dhaka

    Google Scholar 

  • Bear J, Cheng A, Sorek S, Ouazar D, Herrera I (1999) Seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers: concepts, methods and practices. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Bhuiyan MJAN, Dutta D (2011) Control of salt water intrusion due to sea level rise in the coastal zone of Bangladesh. WIT Trans Ecol Environ 149:163–173. https://doi.org/10.2495/CP11

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • CCC (2016) Assessment of sea level rise on bangladesh coast through trend analysis. Climate Change Cell (CCC), Department of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Bangladesh. http://gobeshona.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SLR-Report_final_July-2016.pdf. Accessed 30 Jan 2017

  • Cruz JV, Coutinho R, Pacheco D et al (2011) Groundwater salinization in the Azores archipelago (Portugal). Environ Earth Sci 62:1273–1285. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-010-0615-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Curry JR, Moore DG (1974) Sedimentary and tectonic processes in the Bengal Deep-Sea Fan and geosyncline. In: Burk CA, Drake CL (eds) The geology of continental margins. Springer, New York, pp 617–627

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Davis S, Whittemore DO, Fabryka-Martin J (1998) Uses of chloride/bromide ratios in studies of potable water.PDF. Ground Water 36:338–350

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dey P, Uddin S, Hasan K (2013) Tourists’ perception towards Cox’ s Bazar sea beach in Bangladesh as a tourist destination. Asian Bus Rev 2:54–60

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dogan A, Fares A (2008) Effects of land-use changes and groundwater pumping on saltwater intrusion in coastal watersheds. In: Fares A, Al El-Kadi (eds) Coastal watershed Management. WIT Press, Boston, pp 1755–8336

    Google Scholar 

  • Dror G, Ronen D, Stiller M, Nishri A (1999) Cl/Br ratios of Lake Kinneret, pore water and associated springs. J Hydrol 225:130–139. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-1694(99)00155-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • El Moujabber M, Bou Samra B, Darwish T, Atallah T (2006) Comparison of different indicators for groundwater contamination by seawater intrusion on the Lebanese coast. Water Resour Manag 20:161–180. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-006-7376-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ferguson G, Gleeson T (2012) Vulnerability of coastal aquifers to groundwater use and climate change. Nat Clim Change 2:342–345

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Freeman JT (2007) The use of bromide and chloride mass ratios to differentiate salt-dissolution and formation brines in shallow groundwaters of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Hydrogeol J 15:1377–1385. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-007-0201-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gössling S (2001) The consequences of tourism for sustainable water use on a tropical island: Zanzibar, Tanzania. J Environ Manag 61:179–191. https://doi.org/10.1006/jema.2000.0403

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gössling S (2006) Tourism and global environmental change: ecological, social, economic and political interrelationships. Routledge, Abingdon

    Google Scholar 

  • Healy RW, Cook PG (2002) Using groundwater levels to estimate recharge. Hydrogeol J 10:91–109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Houben GJ, Koeniger P, Sultenfuß J (2014) Freshwater lenses as archive of climate, groundwater recharge, and hydrochemical evolution: insights from depth-specific water isotope analysis and age determination on the island of Langeoog, Germany. Water Resour Res 50:8227–8239. https://doi.org/10.1002/2014WR015584

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hounslow AW (1995) Water quality data: analysis and interpretation. CRC Press, Florida

    Google Scholar 

  • Hudak PF (2003) Chloride/bromide ratios in leachate derived from farm-animal waste. Environ Pollut 121:23–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0269-7491(02)00211-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Islam NM, Chowdhury A, Islam KM, Rahaman MZ (2014) Development of rainfall recharge model for natural groundwater recharge estimation in Godagari Upazila of Rajshahi District, Bangladesh. Am J Civ Eng 2:48–52. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ajce.20140202.16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kallioras A, Pliakas FK, Schüth C, Rausch R (2013) Methods to countermeasure the intrusion of seawater into coastal aquifer systems. In: Sharma SK, Sanghi R (eds) Wastewater reuse and management. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 479–490. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4942-9_17

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Katz BG, Eberts SM, Kauffman LJ (2011) Using Cl/Br ratios and other indicators to assess potential impacts on groundwater quality from septic systems: a review and examples from principal aquifers in the United States. J Hydrol 397:151–166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.11.017

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mahmuduzzaman M, Ahmed ZU, Nuruzzaman AKM, Ahmed FRS (2014) Causes of salinity intrusion in coastal belt of Bangladesh. Int J Plant Res 4:8–13. https://doi.org/10.5923/s.plant.201401.02

    Google Scholar 

  • Martínez DE, Bocanegra EM (2002) Hydrogeochemistry and cation-exchange processes in the coastal aquifer of Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Hydrogeol J 10:393–408. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-002-0195-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mas-pla J, Ghiglieri G, Uras G (2014) Seawater intrusion and coastal groundwater resources management. Examples from two Mediterranean regions: Catalonia and Sardinia. Contrib Sci 10:171–184. https://doi.org/10.2436/20.7010.01.201

    Google Scholar 

  • McArthur JM, Sikdar PK, Hoque MA, Ghosal U (2012) Waste-water impacts on groundwater: Cl/Br ratios and implications for arsenic pollution of groundwater in the Bengal Basin and Red River Basin, Vietnam. Sci Total Environ 437:390–402. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.07.068

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McCaffrey MA, Lazar B, Holland HD (1987) The evaporation path of seawater and the coprecipitation of Br and K+ with Halite. J Sediment Pet 57:928–937. https://doi.org/10.1306/212f8cab-2b24-11d7-8648000102c1865d

    Google Scholar 

  • Mercado A (1985) The use of hydrogeochemical patterns in carbonate sand and sandstone aquifers to identify intrusion and flushing of saline water. Ground Water 23:635–645

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Michael HA, Voss CI (2009) Estimation of regional-scale groundwater flow properties in the Bengal Basin of India and Bangladesh. Hydrogeol J 17:1329–1346. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-009-0443-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Michael HA, Russoniello, Byron LA (2013) Global assessment of vulnerability to sea-level rise in topography-limited and recharge-limited coastal groundwater systems. Water Resour Res 49:2228–2240. https://doi.org/10.1002/wrcr.20213

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Minar MH, Hossain MBB, Shamsuddin MD (2013) Climate change and coastal zone of Bangladesh: vulnerability, resilience and adaptability. Middle East J Sci Res 13:114–120. https://doi.org/10.5829/idosi.mejsr.2013.13.1.64121

    Google Scholar 

  • MPO (1987) The groundwater resource and its availability for development. Technical Report No. 5, Ministry of Irrigation, Water Development and Flood Control, Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Mtoni Y, Mjemah IC, Bakundukize C, Van Camp M, Martens K, Walraevens K (2013) Saltwater intrusion and nitrate pollution in the coastal aquifer of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Environ Earth Sci 70:1091–1111. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-012-2197-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Naderi MN, Reza M, Kermani H, Barani G (2013) Seawater intrusion and groundwater resources management in coastal aquifers. Eur J Biol 3:80–94

    Google Scholar 

  • Nair IS, Renganayaki SP, Elango L (2013) Identification of seawater intrusion by Cl/Br ratio and mitigation through managed aquifer recharge in aquifers north of Chennai, India. JGWR 2:155–162

    Google Scholar 

  • Oude Essink GHP (2001) Improving fresh groundwater supply-problems and solutions. Ocean Coast Manag 44:429–449

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Post VEA (2005) Fresh and saline groundwater interaction in coastal aquifers: is our technology ready for the problems ahead? Hydrogeol J 13:120–123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rabbani G, Rahman A, Islam N (2010) Climate change and sea level rise: issues and challenges for coastal communities in the Indian ocean region. In: Michel D, Pandya A (eds) Coastal zones and climate change. The Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, pp 17–29

    Google Scholar 

  • Rasel HM, Hasan MR, Ahmed B, Miah MSU (2013) Investigation of soil and water salinity, its effect on crop production and adaptation strategy. Int J Water Resour Environ Eng 5:475–481. https://doi.org/10.5897/IJWREE2013.0400

    Google Scholar 

  • Ravenscroft P (2003) Overview of the hydrogeology of Bangladesh. In: Rahman AA, Ravenscroft P (eds) Groundwater resources and development in Bangladesh: background to the arsenic crisis, agricultural potential and the environment. chap. 3. Bangladesh centre for advanced studies. Univ Press, Dhaka, pp 43–86

    Google Scholar 

  • Ravenscroft P, McArthur JM (2004) Mechanism of regional enrichment of groundwater by boron: the examples of Bangladesh and Michigan, USA. Appl Geochem 19:1413–1430. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeochem.2003.10.014

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ravenscroft P, Burgess WG, Ahmed KM, Burren M, Perrin J (2005) Arsenic in groundwater of the Bengal Basin, Bangladesh: distribution, field relations, and hydrogeological setting. Hydrogeol J 13:727–751

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seddique AA, Hossain SKS, Mr Shaibur, Haque MA, Ahmed KM, Alam N, Rahman M (2013) Landuse changes over 21 years and impact on groundwater aquifer in and around Cox’s Bazar town, Bangladesh. Int J Environ 3:20–27

    Google Scholar 

  • Shamsudduha M, Uddin A, Saunders JA, Lee MK (2008) Quaternary stratigraphy, sediment characteristics and geochemistry of arsenic-contaminated alluvial aquifers in the Ganges–Brahmaputra floodplain in central Bangladesh. J Contam Hydrol 99:112–136. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2008.03.010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shamsudduha M, Taylor RG, Ahmed KM, Zahid A (2011) The impact of intensive groundwater abstraction on recharge to a shallow regional aquifer system: evidence from Bangladesh. Hydrogeol J 19(4):901–916. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-011-0723-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shanyengana ES, Seely MK, Sanderson RD (2004) Major-ion chemistry and ground-water salinization in ephemeral floodplains in some arid regions of Namibia. J Arid Environ 57:211–223. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-1963(03)00095-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stuyfzand PJ (2008) Base exchange indices as indicators of salinization or freshening of (coastal) aquifers. In: Proceedings of 20th salt water intrusion meeting. pp 262–265

  • Todd DK (1959) Ground water hydrology. Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Camp M, Mtoni Y, Mjemah IC, Bakundukize C, Walraevens K (2014) Investigating seawater intrusion due to groundwater pumping with schematic model simulations: the example of the Dar es Salaam coastal aquifer in Tanzania. J Afr Earth Sci 96:71–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2014.02.012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Werner AD, Bakker M, Post VE, Vandenbohede A, Lu C, Ataie-Ashtiani B, Simmons CT, Barry DA (2013) Seawater intrusion processes, investigation and management: recent advances and future challenges. Adv Water Resour 51:3–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yu W, Voss CI, Michael HA, Ahmed KM, Feinson L, Khan MMR, Tuinhof A (2010) Implications of climate change for freshgroundwater resources in coastal aquifers in Bangladesh. World Bank, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  • Yu X, Yang J, Graf T, Koneshloo M, O’Neal MA, Michael HA (2016) Impact of topography on groundwater salinization due to ocean surge inundation. Water Resour Res. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR018814

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank the Bangladesh Meteorological Department for providing climate data and Bangladesh Geological Survey and Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) for the geological information. The first author thanks Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes for financial support. This study was also supported by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under Grant 01DP14024. Finally but not the least, the first author would like to thank reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions that improved this manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Suraiya Fatema.

Electronic supplementary material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fatema, S., Marandi, A., Zahid, A. et al. Seawater intrusion caused by unmanaged groundwater uses in a coastal tourist area, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Environ Earth Sci 77, 75 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-018-7260-6

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-018-7260-6

Keywords

  • Seawater intrusion
  • Hydrochemistry
  • Coastal aquifer
  • Tourism
  • Bangladesh