Environmental Geology

Seasonal variation of groundwater quality in a part of Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India

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Courtesy of Environmental Geology

The area in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India, is selected to discuss the impact of seasonal variation of groundwater quality on irrigation and human health, where the agriculture is the main livelihood of rural people and the groundwater is the main source for irrigation and drinking. Granite gneisses associated with schists and charnockites of the Precambrian Eastern Ghats underlie the area. Groundwater samples collected seasonally, pre- and post-monsoons, during three years from forty wells in the area were analyzed for pH, EC, TDS, TA, TH, Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, CO 3 2− , HCO 3 − , Cl−, SO 4 2− , NO 3 − and F−. The chemical relationships in Piper’s diagram, Chebotarev’s genetic classification and Gibbs’s diagram suggest that the groundwaters mainly belong to non-carbonate alkali type and Cl− group, and are controlled by evaporation-dominance, respectively, due to the influence of semi-arid climate, gentle slope, sluggish drainage conditions, greater water–rock interaction, and anthropogenic activities. A comparison of the groundwater quality in relation to drinking water quality standards proves that most of the water samples are not suitable for drinking, especially in post-monsoon period. US Salinity Laboratory’s and Wilcox’s diagrams, and %Na+ used for evaluating the water quality for irrigation suggest that the majority of the groundwater samples are not good for irrigation in post-monsoon compared to that in pre-monsoon. These conditions are caused due to leaching of salts from the overlying materials by infiltrating recharge waters. A management plan is suggested for sustainable development of the area.

Keywords: Groundwater quality - Agricultural area - Management plan - Guntur district - Andhra Pradesh - India

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