Hydrochemical Research of Groundwater for Irrigation Purpose in North-Western Zone, Bangladesh

Kanak Kanti Kar, Dabojani Das, Mithun Deb

  Open Access OPEN ACCESS  Peer Reviewed PEER-REVIEWED

Hydrochemical Research of Groundwater for Irrigation Purpose in North-Western Zone, Bangladesh

Kanak Kanti Kar1,, Dabojani Das2, Mithun Deb2

1Water Resources Engineer, Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), Dhaka, Bangladesh

2Graduate student, Civil Engineering, BUET, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Abstract

The suitability of groundwater for irrigation is reliant upon the effect of different component dissolved in groundwater. The standard limits of the different components (major cations and anions, trace elements) within groundwater for irrigation vary locally. A baseline study involving analysis of five groundwater quality monitoring wells in the North-Western zone of Bangladesh was carried out in order to evaluate their suitability for agricultural purposes. From these monitoring different parameters of groundwater from 1973 to 1996 were found. In addition, groundwater quality data of different depth of 20 Deep Tube wells within the study area are also collected to know the existing condition of groundwater quality. Water samples from the wells are accumulated and scrutinized for pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO3-, Cl-, SO42- and Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR).

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Cite this article:

  • Kar, Kanak Kanti, Dabojani Das, and Mithun Deb. "Hydrochemical Research of Groundwater for Irrigation Purpose in North-Western Zone, Bangladesh." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 1.5 (2013): 84-91.
  • Kar, K. K. , Das, D. , & Deb, M. (2013). Hydrochemical Research of Groundwater for Irrigation Purpose in North-Western Zone, Bangladesh. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 1(5), 84-91.
  • Kar, Kanak Kanti, Dabojani Das, and Mithun Deb. "Hydrochemical Research of Groundwater for Irrigation Purpose in North-Western Zone, Bangladesh." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 1, no. 5 (2013): 84-91.

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1. Introduction

Water is the most important natural resources without life would be nonexistent [1]. Freshwater quality and availability remain one of the most critical environmental and sustainability issues of the twenty-first century [2]. Of all sources of freshwater on the earth, groundwater constitutes over 90% of the world’s readily available freshwater resources [3] with remaining 10% in lakes, reservoirs, rivers and wetland. Groundwater is also widely used as a source, for drinking water supply and irrigation in food production [4]. However, groundwater is not only a valuable resource for water supply, but also a vital component of the global water cycle and the environment. The study area is the part of Northwestern zone of Bangladesh. This zone mainly formed by flood plain deposits of Teesta, Ganges and Karatoya-Bangali Rivers; Old Himalayan Piedmont Plain deposit, Pleistocene uplands like Barind Tract and Ganges flood plain deposits. The proposed area spread over to partial areas of Badarganj, Taragonj and Mithapukur Rangpur Sadar, Kaunia, Pirgachha upazilas of Rangpur district; Saidpur and Kishorganj upazilas of Nilphamari district and Parbatipur, Fulbari and Chirirbandar upazilas of Dinajpur district of Bangladesh. The Digital Terrain Model (DTM) shows that the lowest elevation is about 22 meters and the highest elevation is about 43 meters above the mean sea level (MSL) of the project area (Figure 1). It was observed in analysis that the lower elevation part is under Pirgachha of Rangpur district and the higher elevation parts are the northern parts of Chirirbandar and Parbatipur of Dinajpur district.

Figure 1. Digital Terrain Model (DTM) showing the elevations of the study area

2. Materials and Methods

Groundwater quality data was maintained by Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB). To analyze groundwater quality of this study area five groundwater quality monitoring wells were selected (Figure 2). These are positioned within and around the study area. From these monitoring wells different parameter value of groundwater from 1973 to 1996 was found. These parameters are Bicarbonate, Boron, Calcium, Carbonate, Chloride, CO2, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Fluoride, Hardness, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Nitrate, pH, Potassium, SAR, Silica, Sodium, Sulfate and TDS. That gives the scenario of groundwater quality of this study area. In addition, Temperature, Hydrogen ion (pH), Redox potential (Eh), Electrical Conductivity (EC), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Dissolved Oxygen (DO), major constituents (Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cl, CO3, HCO3, SO4, and Si02), minor constituents (Fe, B, I, Fl, P04, NO3, and C02) and some trace elements (As and Mn) were determined to know the suitability of groundwater for irrigation of this study area. However, some parameters were not available in data of five monitoring wells. Moreover, Groundwater samples were also collected from different depth of 20 Deep Tube wells within the study area (Figure 3) and analyzed in the lab which helped to know the existing groundwater quality of the study area. The different parameter of groundwater was compared with standard value set by DoE (Department of Environment of Bangladesh).

Conductivity measurements give a strong indication of overall salinity. High salinities limit the amount of water available for uptake by crop roots and can therefore reduce yields. The SAR is a measurement of the ratio of sodium (Na+) ions to calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions in milliequivalents per litre (meq/l). This is calculated using the following formula [5, 6]:

Figure 2. Selected Groundwater monitoring wells within and around the study area
Figure 3. Location of collected groundwater sample within the study area

3. Results and Discussions

Department of Environment (DoE) of Bangladesh has set the standards for irrigation water quality of Bangladesh. The standard limits of these parameters are given below in Table 1. Groundwater quality data or parameter of this five monitoring wells and 20 Deep Tube wells were compared with the standard limits for irrigation water quality data. This comparison helps to assess the suitability of groundwater for irrigation in the study area.

Temperature, Redox Potential, Dissolved oxygen, Iodine, Phosphate, Arsenic, Carbon dioxide (CO2) data was not available in data of BWDB. Apart from Iron and Manganese, EC, TDS, Chloride, Sulfate, SAR well below the standard limit for irrigation water. However, some value of pH, Bicarbonate and Boron cross the standard value for irrigation water in Bangladesh. Some parameters value of groundwater of 20 samples of 2012 is given in Table 2-a and 2-b. From Figure 5 it is clear that, apart from Iron and Dissolved oxygen, all other parameters well below the standard limit for irrigation water in Bangladesh. However, some parameter standard value was not established for irrigation water by DoE. That’s why standard values were not given in graphs of Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Carbonate and Nitrate, Silica (Figure 4 and Figure 5). Standard limit for Arsenic and Boron in irrigation water is 1 ppm or mg/l and 2 ppm or mg/l respectively (Table 1). Lab test results of all 20 samples (Table 2-b) shows concentration of Boron and Arsenic well below the standard limit for irrigation water in Bangladesh.

Table 1. Standards for irrigation water quality of Bangladesh by Department of Environment (DOE), Bangladesh

Figure 4. Graphical distribution of PH, EC, TDS, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Carbonate, Bicarbonate, Sulfate, Iron, Boron, Fluoride, Nitrate, Manganese, Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR), Silica from (1973-1996)

Table 2-a. Test result of 20 samples of groundwater

Table 2-b. Test result of 20 samples of groundwater

Figure 5. Graphical distribution of Temperature, EC, TDS, PH, Bicarbonate, Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP), Chloride, Silica, Nitrate, Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Sulfate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium (2012)

Generally, irrigation water is classified in terms of salinity hazard (conductivity or TDS) and sodium hazard (SAR). Salinity hazard are classified by Electrical conductivity (Table 3). Electrical conductivity measures the total amount of dissolved solid in groundwater. Electrical conductivity value of 20 samples (Table 4) within the study area shows groundwater of this area medium to low saline water. The range of EC values of 15 samples are within 250-750 micromho/cm and other 5 samples are <250 micromho/cm (Table 4). Sodium Adsorption ratio (SAR) measures the degree to which sodium in irrigation water replace the adsorbed (Ca2+ , Mg2+) in the soil clays and thus damages the soil structure. The SAR value of all 20 samples are calculated from the Sodium value divided by square root of Calcium plus Magnesium value where all ionic concentration is expressed in milliequivalents per liter SAR value of all 20 samples is very low (Table 4). The SAR value of all this samples indicates the excellent quality for irrigation water according to Table 5.

Table 3. Classification of salinity in irrigation water by Electrical Conductivity (EC)

Table 4. Electrical conductivity and Calculated Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR) of 20 samples of 2012 in study area

Table 5. Recommended Water Classification for SAR

4. Conclusion

The groundwater in the North-Western zone of Bangladesh can be used for irrigation where surface water is not available. Low EC, TDS, Boron and SAR value of this groundwater indicate good quality for irrigation within the study area. However, where iron level is high basin aeration pump can be used. This type of pump keeps the water volume moving (creating ripples) and resulting in iron precipitation due to oxidation. Finally precipitated iron can be removed by filtration.

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