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Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences
Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences, 9(5) May 2015, Pages: 16-26
AENSI Journals
Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences
ISSN:1995-0772 EISSN: 1998-1090
Journal home page: www.aensiweb.com/ANAS
Evaluation of groundwater quality and its suitability for drinking and agricultural uses
in SW Qena Governorate, Egypt.
Salman A. Salman and Ahmed A. Elnazer
Geological Sciences Department, National Research Centre, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
ARTICLE INFO
Article history:
Received 4 December 2014
Received in revised form 10 January
2015
Accepted 8 February 2015
Available online 20 February 2015
ABSTRACT
Groundwater is an important source of freshwater for uses in many regions over the
world, especially arid regions as Egypt. To assess the groundwater quality for drinking
and agricultural at SW Qena Governorate, 38 groundwater samples were collected and
subjected to a comprehensive physicochemical analysis. This groundwater is alkaline,
fresh and hard water. According to WHO specification, more than half of the samples
are suitable for drinking purpose according to their chemical constituents. Also, this
water is suitable for irrigation purpose according to the irrigation quality parameters,
except some samples with high salinity and magnesium hazard.
Keywords:
Water quality, Drinking water,
Irrigation Water, Qena Governorate
© 2015 AENSI Publisher All rights reserved.
To Cite This Article: Salman, S.A. and Elnazer, A.A., Evaluation of groundwater quality and its suitability for drinking and agricultural
uses in SW Qena Governorate, Egypt. Adv. in Nat. Appl. Sci., 9(5): 16-26, 2015
INTRODUCTION
With the growing of populations and human activities in Egypt, the demand for groundwater has increased.
Groundwater is the only reliable water resource for human consumption, as well as for agriculture and industrial
uses in the desert area in SW of Qena Governorate. So pumping from the Plio-Pleistocene aquifer is widely
practiced in this area. It is now generally recognized that the quality of groundwater is of the same importance
as its quantity. Water quality and human health are inextricable linked (Salem et al., 2000). Groundwater quality
is based upon the physical and chemical soluble parameters due to weathering from source rocks and
anthropogenic activities. Suitability of water for various uses depends on the type and concentration of dissolved
minerals and groundwater has more mineral composition than surface water (Mirabbasi et al., 2008; Salman,
2013). The quality of groundwater depends on several factors such as soil-water interaction, dissolution of
mineral species, duration of solid-water interaction and the anthropogenic source (Hem 1989; Appelo
and Postma, 2005). Anthropogenic activities like urban development and agricultural activities (inputs
of fertilizer and pesticides) directly or indirectly affect the groundwater quality (Kim et al., 2004; Jalali, 2005;
Srinivasamoorthy et al., 2009; Zhang et al., 2011). The objective of the present study is to assess the chemical
groundwater composition and its suitability for drinking and agricultural purpose in SW Qena Governorate.
The study area is lying to the southwest of Qena Governorate between latitudes 25° 56′ 52′′N to 26° 12′
21′′N and longitudes 32° 1′ 40′′E to 32° 42′ 19′′E (Fig. 1). This area has desert climate conditions with
temperature varies between 27 - 47° and 7 – 28° in summer and winter respectively. Rainfall is rarely occurs
and the average annual rainfall does not exceed 4 mm/year (Abdallatief et al. 2012).
Geology of Qena was studied by many authors such as Said (1962, 1981 and 1993), Askalany (1988),
Issawi and McCauley (1992), El- Balasy (1994), Abadi (1995) and Mansour et al. (2001). Qena area (Fig. 2)
covered by sediments and sedimentary rocks ranging in age from Lower Eocene to Recent. The Lower Eocene
is represented by Thebes Formation. This formation consists of hard limestone with many flint bands and marl
intercalations. The Pliocene consists of interbeded red brown clay, Paleonile (Madamoud Formation), which
acts as an aquiclude for the overlying Quaternary aquifers. The Pleistocene and Recent subdivided into different
formations, these are fluviatile and alluvial deposits covering most of the study area in the form of gravel, coarse
sand, and loamy materials.
Corresponding Author: Salman A. Salman, Geological Sciences Department, National Research Centre, Dokki, Cairo,
Egypt Box.12311.
E-mail: [email protected]
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Salman and Elnazer, 2015
Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences, 9(5) May 2015, Pages: 16-26
Fig. 1: Location map of the study area showing the sampling sites.
Fig. 2: Geologic map of Qena governorate (modified from Conoco, 1987).
According to Abu El Ella (1993), Shedeid et al. (2001) and Aggour et al. (2005), the water bearing
sediments in the study area are composed of the Plio-Pleistocene sediments which consist of clayey sand layers.
The saturated thickness of it ranges from 40 m close to the limestone boundary and 80 m adjacent to the
floodplain. The groundwater is generally under phreatic conditions. This aquifer is characterized by low
productivity and its hydraulic interconnection with the floodplain Quaternary aquifer. The Plio-Pleistocene
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Salman and Elnazer, 2015
Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences, 9(5) May 2015, Pages: 16-26
aquifer is recharged vertically from excess irrigation water in the new reclaimed lands and is presumably from
deeper aquifer systems (RIGW 1992). It is discharged mainly through horizontal flow to the Quaternary aquifer
or vertically by pumping.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Groundwater samples were collected from 38 boreholes in Jan 2014 at SW Qena Governorate (Fig. 1).
Water from the wells was pumped out for over 20 minutes, before abstracting the samples in well cleaned one
litre polythene bottles. The temperature, pH, TDS and electrical conductivity (EC) were determined at the site
with the help of digital HANNA pH meter (HI 991300) which was calibrated prior to taking of readings. The
samples were filtered and analyzed for chemical constituents by using standard procedures (APHA 1995).
Sodium and potassium were determined by flame photometer. Total hardness (TH) as CaCO3, calcium (Ca2+),
magnesium (Mg2+), carbonate (CO32-), bicarbonate (HCO3‾) and chloride (Cl‾) were analyzed by volumetric
methods. Sulfates (SO42-) were estimated by using the calorimetric technique. Iron and Mn were determined by
using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. The analytical precision for the measurements of ions was
determined by the ionic balances, which was below 5%.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Hydrochemical Characteristics and Classification:
Descriptive statistics of chemical constituents of collected groundwater samples are presented in Table (1).
The pH value ranged from 6.96 to 8.79, this indicating study area water falls in alkaline nature. This high pH,
possibly due to the presence of considerable amount of sodium, calcium, magnesium, carbonate and bicarbonate
ions which progressively increase the pH and alkalinity (Rao et al., 1982; Njitchoua et al., 1997). The electrical
conductivity ranges from 430 to 3270 µS/cm. The large variation in EC is mainly attributed to geochemical
process like ion exchange, reverse exchange, evaporation, silicate weathering, rock water interaction, sulphate
reduction and oxidation processes (Ramesh and Elango, 2012) and anthropogenic activities like application of
agrochemicals. TDS in the study area vary in the range of 285 - 2188 mg/l with an average value of 1074.7
mg/l. The high TDS values may be attributed to leaching of salts from Plio-Pleistocene sediments containing
salts of sulfates and chlorides (Elewa 2004). According to Chebotarev (1955) classification (Table 2) all the
samples are considered fresh water, ranging from good potable to passably fresh. In addition, the total hardness
value varies from 60.4 to 600 mg/l (Table 1) which may be due to presence of calcium and magnesium in the
country rocks. The results indicted that 6 samples are medium hard water, 20 samples are hard water and 12
samples are very hard water (Table 3) according to Boyd (2000) classification of water hardness.
Table 1: Descriptive statistics of the physico-chemical parameters of groundwater of Qena Governorate WHO (2004) specification.
TDS
EC
TH
Ca
Mg
Na
K
HCO3
SO4
Cl
Fe
Mn
parameter
pH
mg/l
µS/cm
mg/l
mg/l
mg/l
mg/l
mg/l mg/l
mg/l
mg/l
mg/l
mg/l
Mean
8.08
1074.7
1611.6
274.4 77.6
47.8
125.3 9.7
213.9
162.6 244.6 0.189 0.221
Median
8.16
984.5
1475.0
249.3 76.4
44.8
115.3 9.2
205.7
161.4 216.0 0.125 0.000
SD
0.38
463.7
696.1
129.6 37.0
24.6
59.0
2.5
84.9
93.2
145.6 0.364 0.401
Range
1.83
1903
2840.0
539.6 155.4 107.4 256.8 14.3
405.2
399.4 586.0 2.190 1.650
Min.
6.96
285
430.0
60.4
18.0
9.9
28.5
2.4
54.9
23.8
30.2
0.010 0.000
Max.
8.79
2188
3270.0
600.0 173.4 117.3 285.3 16.7
460.1
423.2 616.2 2.200 1.650
Q1
7.96
692.8
1032.5
203.8 49.1
34.1
81.9
8.4
157.4
92.9
133.9 0.020 0.000
Q2
8.37
1380.3
2075.0
331.2 104.1 56.8
157.9 10.6
252.7
210.0 329.9 0.200 0.288
WHO
6.5-9.2
1000
1500
500
200
150
200
200
240
250
250
0.3
0.4
2004
SD: Standard Deviation
Q1: 1st Quartile
Q3: 3rd Quartile
Table 2: Classification of water according to TDS.
Water Type
Good potable
Fresh water
Fresh
Fairly fresh
water
Brackish
water
Salt water
Passably fresh
Slightly brackish
Brackish
Definitely brackish
Slightly salt
salt
Very salt
Extremely salt
Sea water
TDS (mg/l)
<500
500 - 700
700 - 1500
1500 - 2500
2500 – 3200
3200 – 4000
4000 - 5000
5000 – 6500
6500 – 7000
7000 – 10000
>10000
35000
Samples
16, 24 and 31
1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 26, 28, 34 and 36
2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27,
29, 30, 31, 33 and 37
13, 14, 19, 32, 35 and 38
---------
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Table 3: Water classification according to TH.
TH (mg/l)
Type
< 50
Soft
Samples
-
50 - 150
Medium hard
6, 7, 9, 16, 24 and 28
150 - 300
Hard
1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 23, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36 and 37
>300
Very hard
2, 8, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 27, 35 and 38
Water naturally contains number of different dissolved inorganic constituents (Table 1). The major cations
are Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+ and K+ flocculated around 77.6, 47.8, 125.3, 9.7 mg/l, respectively (Table 1). The anions are
Cl‾, SO42- and HCO3‾ flocculated around 244.6, 162.6 and 213.9 mg/l, respectively (Table 1). Carbonate anion
was absent in all the analyzed samples. The geochemical composition of groundwater indicates a direct relation
between the lithology and relative abundance of ions. Where, the dominance of Na+ and Cl‾ ions in the
groundwater of the study area is related to leaching processes of highly soluble minerals salts such as halite
which associated with Pliocene sediments in the study area (Abdalla et al., 2009; Hamdan, 2013).
Iron and manganese display great variations both laterally and vertically in groundwater throughout the Nile
valley. The mean concentration of Fe and Mn in the groundwater is 0.14 and 0.22 mg/l, respectively (Table 1).
The depleted content of Fe and Mn in this groundwater is attributed to the poverty of ferromagnesian minerals
in the water bearing sediments in the desert areas of Nile valley (Omer 2003; Gomaa 2006).
The groundwater types in the study area were determined based on their chemical composition using the
piper trilinear diagram (Piper, 1944). The plot shows that most of the groundwater samples analyzed fall in the
field of the earth alkaline water with increase portion of alkalis with prevailing sulphate and chloride (Fig. 3).
Also, some samples are of alkaline water with prevailing sulphate and chloride and two samples are in the field
of earth alkaline water with increase portion of alkalis with prevailing bicarbonate.
Evaluation of Water Suitability for Drinking:
The quality of drinking water is an issue of primary interest for the consumers. All the studied quality
parameters (pH, TDS, EC, TH, Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, Cl‾, SO42- and HCO3‾) have been compared with the WHO
(2004) specification for drinking water (Table 1). Accordingly, all the water samples are with pH values of the
desirable ranges for drinking water. About 45% of the samples (18 samples) are crossing the maximum
permissible limit of 1000 mg/l and 1,500 µS/cm for TDS and EC, respectively. However, only three samples
(samples 8, 13 and 19) are out of desirable limit for TH (500 mg/l) in drinking water. But, most the groundwater
samples fall in the hard (20 samples) to very hard (12 samples) category (Table 3). There is some suggestive
evidence that long term consumption of extremely hard water might lead to an increased incidence of
urolithiasis, anencephaly, prenatal mortality, some types of cancer and cardiovascular disorders (Durvey et al.,
1991; Agrawal and Jagetai, 1997).
Fig. 3: Piper trilinear diagram indicating the groundwater type.
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Ca2+, Mg2+and K+ concentrations are within the acceptable limit of drinking water (Table 1). However,
some samples have inadequate levels of Na+, Cl‾, SO42- and HCO3‾ ions in comparison with WHO (2004)
specification for drinking water. Sodium overdose acute effects may include nausea, vomiting, convulsions,
muscular twitching and rigidity, and cerebral and pulmonary oedema (Elton et al., 1963; DNHW, 1992). In
addition, high concentrations of Cl‾ in drinking water cause a salty taste and have a laxative effect (Bhardwaj
and Singh, 2011) in people not accustomed to it. Also, reported diarrhea associated with the ingestion of water
containing high levels of sulfate was recorded (USEPA, 1998).
Iron is one of the most abundant metals on earth and is an essential element for the normal physiology of
living organisms. Both its deficiency and overload can be harmful both for animals and plants (Anonymous,
2008). In drinking water the desirable concentration set by WHO (2004) is 0.3 mg/l for iron. Nearly all the
studied samples have acceptable levels of Fe except samples 7, 34 and 38. Manganese is an essential trace
nutrient for all forms of life (Emsley, 2003) as it binds to and/or regulates many enzymes in the body
(Crossgrove and Zheng, 2004). Only 4 samples (1, 7, 21, 28 and 38) cross the desirable limit of 0.4 mg/l for
drinking water.
Evaluation of Water Quality for Irrigation:
Water Salinity:
Water salinity can be assessed based on TDS or EC. High salt content in irrigation water causes osmotic
pressure in soil solution (Thorne and Peterson, 1954). Also it affects soil structure, permeability, aeration,
texture and makes soil hard (Trivedy and Geol, 1984). According to the USEPA (1976) classification of water
TDS for arid and semi-arid regions (Table 4), only 2 samples are of class I, 1 sample of class IV, 18 samples of
class II and the rest of samples are of class III.
Table (5) shows the classification of groundwater samples for irrigation water use based upon electric
conductivity (Richards, 1954). Accordingly, 84% of the samples are permissible for irrigation with EC <2250
µS/cm. The elevated EC value could be attributed to bedrock formation and agricultural activities in the study
area.
Sodium Absorption ratio (SAR):
SAR values in irrigation waters have a close relationship with the extent to which Na+ is absorbed by soils.
If water used for irrigation is high in Na and low in Ca2+, the ion exchange complex may become saturated
Table 4: Dissolved solids problems for irrigation water
Class
TDS (ppm)
Effects on plants
No.
I
<500
No detrimental effects usually noticed.
II
500- 1000
III
1000 – 2000
IV
2000 - 5000
Detrimental effects on sensitive crops.
Adverse effects on many crops, requiring careful
management practices.
Only for tolerant plants on permeable soils with
careful management practice.
Samples No.
16 and 24
1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29,
30, 33, 34 and 36
2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 14, 19, 20, 23, 25, 27, 31, 32,
35, 37 and 38
13
Table 5: Classification of groundwater samples for Irrigation use based on EC.
EC µS /cm
class
Samples
<250
Excellent (C1)
250 – 750
Good (C2)
9, 16 and 24
750 – 2250
Permissible (C3)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28,29, 30,
31, 33, 34, 36 and 37
>2250
Unsuitable (C4)
13, 14, 19, 32, 35 and 38
with Na+, which destroys soil structure because of dispersion of clay particles. The higher the SAR values
in the water, the greater the risk of Na+ which leads to the development of an alkaline soil (Todd 1980), while a
high salt concentration in water leads to formation of saline soil. SAR is calculated by the following formula
(Richards, 1954):SAR = Na / [(Ca + Mg)/2] ½
Where the concentration of all ions are in meq/l.
The calculated value of SAR in this area ranges from 1 to 7.3 (Table 6). SAR for groundwater samples of
the study area are less than 10 indicating excellent quality for irrigation and samples fall in excellent (S1)
category (Table 7) and can be used safely for all types of soil.
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Table 6: Irrigation water quality parameters.
S.No
SAR
RSC
PI
1
2.5
-2.6
58.3
2
4.1
-4.9
58.2
3
7.3
-1.0
80.4
4
5.1
-1.9
72.9
5
2.8
-1.0
68.6
6
3.4
-1.8
71.7
7
5.6
0.9
98.0
8
3.1
-11.0
44.6
9
2.7
-0.3
80.0
10
4.5
-3.1
68.1
11
6.3
-2.8
74.9
12
1.0
-4.9
37.0
13
2.0
-13.6
33.4
14
2.9
-8.7
46.5
15
4.5
-1.7
73.8
16
1.6
-2.9
52.1
17
2.2
-6.9
44.1
18
3.6
-3.0
63.7
19
1.8
-12.6
32.7
SSP
41.7
46.9
68.8
59.9
48.3
56.4
75.4
38.2
55.2
56.1
64.7
22.5
26.5
37.6
59.9
38.2
35.2
49.9
25.9
MH
53.3
54.8
49.6
75.3
54.3
46.7
45.4
61.9
60.4
57.7
60.2
46.9
49.5
60.5
49.7
43.9
42.9
54.7
62.2
S.No
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
SAR
3.1
2.6
1.6
3.2
1.0
2.0
1.2
2.3
6.2
2.7
2.1
1.5
3.2
1.8
2.2
3.6
1.1
2.2
1.8
RSC
-10.1
-4.8
-6.4
-2.6
0.2
-6.9
-2.3
-6.4
2.3
-4.3
-1.9
-6.1
-3.8
-2.8
-0.8
-8.1
-5.6
-5.9
-3.5
PI
45.6
53.3
39.9
63.3
73.2
42.8
48.0
46.2
101.4
53.1
53.3
39.6
57.8
53.3
67.3
52.5
36.0
47.3
45.4
SSP
37.9
40.8
28.4
48.5
33.8
31.8
26.1
34.7
76.6
39.0
34.7
27.8
44.4
35.3
45.3
44.7
23.7
36.6
28.4
MH
48.3
57.9
49.7
43.2
47.3
48.8
44.9
47.2
52.1
41.0
45.3
37.5
37.9
49.6
79.9
49.7
31.5
36.7
38.7
Table 7: Classification of irrigation water based on SAR values (After Richards 1954).
Class
SAR Values
Quality
S1
0-10
Low sodium water
S2
10-18
Medium sodium water
S3
18-26
High sodium water
S4
>26
Very high salinity
The plot of data on the US salinity diagram (Richards 1954), in which SAR is plotted against EC, where
the EC is taken as salinity hazard and SAR as alkalinity hazard (Fig. 4) indicates that; out of 38 samples, 3
samples lie in C3-S2 field, 3 samples in C2-S1, 6 samples in C4-S1 and 26 samples in C3-S1 field (Fig. 4) The
C3-S2, C2-S1 and C3-S1 field are considered as good water category for irrigation use.
Fig. 4: USSL diagram indicating the suitability of groundwater for irrigation.
Soluble Sodium Percentage (SSP):
Sodium ion is an important cation which in excess deteriorates the soil structure and reduces crop yield
(Srinivasamoorthy, 2004). When the concentration of Na+ is high in irrigation water, Na+ tends to be absorbed
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by clay particles, displacing Mg2+ and Ca2+ ions. soluble sodium percentage (SSP) can be determined using the
formula (Wilcox, 1955) given below:SSP = [100*(Na+ + K+)] / (Ca2+ + Mg2+ + Na+ + K+)
Where the concentration of all ions are in meq/l.
Excess SSP, combining with carbonate, leads to formation of alkali soils, whereas with chloride, saline soils
are formed. Neither soil will support plant growth (Rao, 2006). According to Todd (1954) classification of the
irrigation water based on the soluble sodium percentage (Table 8), it was found that most of the groundwater
samples have SSP values <60 indicating permissible irrigation water type (Table 6). Irrigation with Na-rich
water results in ion exchange reactions: uptake of Na+ and release of Ca2+ and Mg2+ (Khodapanah et al., 2009).
This causes soil aggregates to disperse, reducing its permeability (Tijani, 1994).
Classifying groundwater based on SSP and EC following Wilcox (1955) (Fig. 5) shows that only one
sample (sample 13) is unsuitable for irrigation while most of the groundwater samples fall in the permissible
fields. Twelve samples fall in the field of doubtful to unsuitable water. The agricultural yields are observed to be
generally low in fields irrigated with water belonging to this field. This is probably due to the presence of Na+
salts, which cause osmotic effects in soil plant system. Hence, air and water circulation is restricted during wet
conditions and such soils are usually hard when dry (Saleh et al., 1999).
Table 8: Classification of irrigation water based on SSP.
SSP
Water class
Samples Nos.
<20
Excellent
20 – 40
Good
1, 2, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 40, 41 and 42
40 – 60
Permissible
3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 20, 21, 24, 26, 36, 38 and 39
60 - 80
Doubtful
5, 6, 9, 13, 17 and 32
>80
Unsuitable
-
Fig. 5: Suitability of groundwater for irrigation in Wilcox diagram.
Residual sodium carbonate (RSC):
RSC has been calculated to determine the hazardous effect of CO32− and HCO3− on the quality of water for
agricultural purpose (Eaton, 1950). The RSC value was calculated using the follwing equation:RSC = (CO32- + HCO3-) – (Ca2+ + Mg2+)
Where the concentration of all ions are in meq/l.
While RSC <1.25 are safe for irrigation (Table 9), it is considered unsuitable if it is greater than 2.5. The
high RSC value in water leads to precipitation of Ca2+ and Mg2+ (Raghunath, 1987). As a result, the relative
proportion of sodium in the water is increased in the form of sodium bicarbonate (Sadashivaiah et al., 2008).
The higher concentration of RSC causes the soil structure to deteriorate, the movement of air and water through
the soil is restricted; soil alkalinity increases and plant growth is shunted (Reddy and Reddy, 2011). The
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computed RSC varied from -13.6 to 2.3 meq/l (Table 6). Most the water samples exhibited negative RSC value
and fall in the suitable class (RSC< 1.25), except 28 (RSC= 2.3 meq/l.) belongs to the medium quality class.
Negative RSC indicates that Na+ buildup is unlikely since sufficient Ca2+ and Mg2+ are in excess of what can
be precipitated as CO32−.
Table 9: Suitability of irrigation water according to RSC value.
Class
Quality
<0
Very good quality
Water of good quality, used for irrigation of all soils.
0 - 1.25
1.25 -2.5
>2.5
Water of medium quality used in case of good drainage
especially with calcium.
Unsuitable water, especially in poor drainage or when
soluble calcium.
Hazard
None
Low, with some removal of calcium and magnesium
from irrigation water.
Medium, with appreciable removal of calcium and
magnesium from irrigation water.
High, with most calcium and magnesium removed
leaving sodium to accumulate.
Permeability index (PI):
Soil permeability is affected by long term use of water rich in Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, and HCO3‾. Doneen (1964)
and WHO (1989) gave a criterion for assessing the influence of irrigation water on physical properties of soil
through PI. The PI was calculated using the following equation:PI = [Na++ (HCO3‾)½ / (Ca2++ Mg2++ Na+)
Where the concentration of all ions are in meq/l.
Doneen (1964) classified irrigation waters in three PI classes (Fig. 6). Class-I and Class-II water types are
suitable for irrigation with 75% or more of maximum permeability, while Class-III types of water, with 25% of
maximum permeability, are unsuitable for irrigation. The PI of the studied samples ranges from 32.7% to
101.4% with an average of 57.6%, which comes under class I and II of Doneen’s chart (Domenico
and Schwartz, 1990).
Fig. 6: Doneen classification of irrigation water based on permeability index.
Magnesium hazard (MH):
Magnesium is essential for plant growth; however at high content it may associate with soil aggregation and
friability (Khodapanah et al., 2009). More Mg+ present in waters affects the soil quality converting it to alkaline
and decreases crop yield (Joshi et al., 2009). Szabolcs and Darab (1964) proposed MH value for irrigation water
as given by the following formula:MH= (Mg2+ x 100) / (Ca2+ + Mg2+)
Where the concentration of all ions are in meq/l.
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Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences, 9(5) May 2015, Pages: 16-26
MH values >50 are considered harmful and unsuitable for irrigation purposes. In the analyzed groundwater
samples, the MH ranges from 31.5 to 79.5% with about 25 samples have MH <50%.
Conclusion:
The groundwater is the main water source in the study area. It exists under unconfined conditions. The
results revealed that this water is mainly alkaline, medium hard to very hard and fresh in nature. Sodium and
chloride are the main ions constituents of examined wells. The groundwater belongs to two main genetic water
types; the earth alkaline water with increase portion of alkalis with prevailing sulphate and chloride and the
alkaline water with prevailing sulphate. The groundwater quality was found to be suitable for drinking purposes
in more than half of the studied wells. Also, SAR, RSC, PI and SSP values indicate that almost all the
groundwater samples are suitable for irrigation. The only limitations will be from magnesium hazard and
salinity in some samples.
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