Assessment of Hydro-Geochemical Properties of Groundwater under the Effect of Desalination Wastewater Discharge in an Arid Area

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Desalination to increase irrigation water supply for agricultural production is becoming important in water scarce regions. While desalination has positive effects on the potential irrigation water quantity and quality, the technique may also be a considered as potential source of groundwater pollution. The present study investigated the effects of desalination wastewater discharge on groundwater quality in an arid area in southern Iran for the 2012-2017 period. The chemical composition of the groundwater samples was evaluated considering pH, EC, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, SO42+, Cl-, and HCO3-. The suitability of groundwater for drinking and irrigation purposes as well as spatial pattern of groundwater pollution were analyzed. The results showed that mean concentration of Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, SO42-, Cl- in all investigated wells increased from 148, 94, 46, 247, and 257 mg/L in 2012 to 282, 146, 71,319, and 582 mg/L in 2017, respectively. Using Gibb’s diagram, it was shown that the groundwater quality is slightly alkaline and primarily controlled by evaporation. Based on our findings, about 78% of the study aquifer displayed groundwater with good to excellent water quality that can be used for drinking and irrigation purposes. However, the eastern part of the aquifer was classified as unsuitable for use due to the disposal of desalination plant wastewater. The spatial distribution of WQI and other indices such as SAR, TDS, and TH showed that groundwater in the eastern part of the aquifer has deteriorated since the establishment of the desalination plants. To reverse this trend, it is important to implement regulations against wastewater discharge from desalination plants.


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Externa organisationer
  • University of Waterloo
  • Hormozgan University
  • Imam Khomeini International University


Sidor (från-till)1
Antal sidor19
TidskriftEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 sep 29
Peer review utfördJa