Hydrogeochemical characteristics of central Jianghan Plain, China

Zhou, Yu ; Wang, Yanxin ; Li, Yilian ; Zwahlen, François ; Boillat, Julie

In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 2013, vol. 68, no. 3, p. 765-778

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    The central Jianghan Plain is the semi-closed basin in the middle reaches of Yangtze River. A total of 78 water samples targeting groundwater were collected from 75 sites in this study site, the area between Yangtze River and Han River, including rivers and lakes for temperature, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS) and ion composition measurements. Correlation matrix was used to assess the geochemical and anthropogenic processes. The most confined groundwater was grouped into HCO3-Ca-Mg, while phreatic groundwater and surface water had a more diversified hydrochemistry. The spatial variation in overall water quality as well as comparison with WHO (World Health Organization) standards for drinking water is illustrated. Mn, As and NO3 − concentrations were found to exceed the allowable limits for drinking water of WHO guidelines, and they also show remarkable spatial variations. Abnormally high nitrate concentration, up to 150-190mg/l, was found only in phreatic groundwater, which suggested that the nitrate pollution might be caused by agricultural activities. The present study may be helpful in further studies concerning water quality issues in this area where groundwater is a vital source for drinking and other activities