The Mitidja alluvial aquifer in northern Algeria is an important drinking, industrial, and agricultural water source. Unfortunately, nitrate contamination has led to a decrease in water quality in several areas that benefit from this source. This study employed geographic information system and statistical modeling methods to evaluate the origin, evolution, and spatiotemporal distribution of groundwater nitrate in the aquifer and investigate the influence of different hydrogeological parameters on its extent. Control points were established across various regions of the Mitidja groundwater aquifer. A total of 1185 nitrate concentrations were measured at 316 sampling points between June 1985 and May 2015. The results showed variable rates, with the 50 mg/L nitrate consumption limit exceeded in 423 samples at 84 observation points. Statistical modeling showed that nitrate concentration was related to groundwater characteristics (aquifer nature, water table depth, and thickness of saturated zone) and human activities (land use, agricultural practices, and population density). Analysis of the nitrate distribution showed that the eastern and western watersheds experienced the greatest contamination. The significant nitrate concentrations in the eastern area were correlated with urban contamination, including uncontrolled urbanization, high population density, and industrial activity, while the primary origin of nitrate in the western area was correlated with agricultural activity, particularly fertilizers. The findings of this study can aid local government and water agencies in the development and implementation of regulations to help mitigate increases in nitrate concentrations.
- Geographic information system
- Groundwater pollution
- Statistical modeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law