Geochemical processes, salinity sources and utility characterization of groundwater in a semi-arid region of Iraq through geostatistical and isotopic techniques

Ali Al Maliki, U. Saravana Kumar, Ali Hasan Falih, M. A. Sultan, Amer Al-Naemi, Dalal Alshamsi, Hasan Arman, Alaa Ahmed, Chidambaram Sabarathinam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Identifying factors contributing to water salinity is paramount in efficiently managing limited water resources in arid environments. The primary objective of this study is to enhance understanding regarding the hydrochemistry, source, and mechanism of water salinity, as well as to assess the suitability of water for various uses in southern Iraq. The groundwater samples were collected from water wells and springs and analyzed for major cations and anions along with stable isotopes (δ18O and δ2H) to accomplish the objective. The analysis of major ion chemistry, hydrochemical techniques, principal component analysis (PCA), and isotope signatures were adopted to determine the primary factors contributing to water mineralization. The study inferred that evaporation and geological processes encompassing water–rock interactions, such as dissolution precipitation and ion exchange, were key processes. The stable isotope analysis revealed that the water originated from meteoric sources and underwent significant evaporation during or before infiltration. The utility assessment of water samples indicates that most samples are not appropriate for consumption and are significantly below the established standards for potable water. In contrast, a significant portion of the groundwater samples were found to meet the criteria for irrigation suitability by adopting Wilcox and the US Salinity Laboratory criteria. The groundwater could be considered for irrigation with proper salinity control management. Overall, this study has significantly improved the understanding of the hydrogeochemical regimes and acts as a first step toward the sustainable utilization of water resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number365
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volume196
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Hydrochemical characteristics
  • Isotope signatures
  • Statistical analysis
  • Water quality assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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