Groundwater Quality, Contamination, and Processes in Brahmaputra River Basin Aquifers

  • Swati Verma
  • Abhijit MukherjeeEmail author
Part of the Springer Hydrogeology book series (SPRINGERHYDRO)


The present study addresses the groundwater solute chemistry, hydrogeochemical evolution, aquifer sediments provenance, and geochemical processes that influences the fate of groundwater arsenic (As) in aquifers of three district tectono-morphic regions of Brahmaputra river basin (BRB). These regions are located in northwestern (NW), northern (N), and southern (S) site of Brahmaputra river along two distinct orogenic belts, i.e., Eastern Himalayas (NW and N) and Indo-Burma Range or Naga Hills (S) in Upper Assam, India. Stable isotopic composition (δ2H and δ18O) in groundwater suggests that the groundwater composition of BRB is influenced by slight evaporation through recharging water. Groundwater composition of S-region is dominated by Na–Ca–HCO3 hydrogeochemical facies, whereas groundwater samples from NW- and N-regions vary between Ca‒HCO3 and Ca–Na–HCO3 in BRB. The distribution of dissolved As concentrations shows huge variation among all studied regions in the Brahmaputra Basin. The groundwater of S-region is much enriched in groundwater As (bdl to 5.53 µM or 415 μg/L, mean 1.77 µM) compared to NW- and N-regions (bdl to 1.8 µM or 134 μg/L, mean 0.28 µM; bdl to 2.45 µM or 184 μg/L, mean 0.68 µM, respectively). Almost 92% collected groundwater sample from S-site is contaminated with dissolved As. This huge As variation might be caused by the differences in the geology, tectonic evolution, and the distance of the two regions from their provenances. Reductive dissolution of minerals, i.e., Fe/Mn oxides/hydroxides, is the most plausible mechanism for arsenic release into the groundwater of the NW and N part in BRB. However, As mobilization in groundwater of S-regions possibly controlled multiple hydrogeochemical processes and the groundwater As enrichment cannot be influenced by one single mechanism in S-aquifer. Thus, hydrogeochemical evolution and high variation in dissolved As enrichment (or distribution) might be explained in terms of geology and rock type of sediment provenance in BRB.


Groundwater Arsenic Hydrogeochemistry Brahmaputra river basin 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeophysicsIndian Institute of Technology (IIT)—KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology (IIT)—KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  3. 3.Applied Policy Advisory To Hydrogeosciences GroupIndian Institute of Technology (IIT)—KharagpurKharagpurIndia

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