Main content area

Physical and isotopic characteristics in peri-urban landscapes: a case study at the lower Volta River Basin, Ghana

Gampson, E. K., Nartey, V. K., Golow, A. A., Akiti, T. T., Sarfo, M. A., Salifu, M., Aidoo, F., Fuseini, A. R.
Appl Water Sci 2017 v.7 no.2 pp. 729-744
adsorption, balance studies, case studies, cluster analysis, correlation, deuterium, irrigation, irrigation water, landscapes, magnesium, mountains, multivariate analysis, oxygen, permeability, principal component analysis, rain, river water, rivers, salinity, sodium, stable isotopes, streams, water quality, watersheds, Ghana
The study presents the application of selected multivariate techniques: display methods (principal component analysis) and unsupervised pattern recognition (cluster analysis) in an attempt to discriminate sources of variation of water quality. PCA has allowed the identification of a reduced number of latent factors with a hydrochemical meaning: natural and anthropogenic (domestic and agricultural activities) factors, which also agrees with the R-mode hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA). Q-mode HCA also corroborates the results of the correlation analysis in relation to sampling sites established on hydrochemical parameters, indicating that there are no spatial and temporal characteristics among the sampling sites in the study area. The suitability of river water for irrigation use was assessed in the study area. A plot of the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) and salinity data on a semilog axis suggests that river water provides good irrigation quality in the area. According to the SAR values plotted in the USSL Staff diagram, 100 % of the river water samples fall in C1–S1 (low salinity–low sodium type) group, which provides good irrigation quality to river water from this area. Also, all the data points showed permeability index values in Class II category which is suitable for irrigation purposes. Recorded magnesium ratio and Kelly’s ratio showed that <50 % of the river water samples were suitable for irrigation purposes. Stable isotope data of water (δ¹⁸O and δ²H) obtained revealed that stream waters joining the Volta River were depleted and possibly recharged by rain and waters from the Akwapim Mountains (located at the western part of the Volta River) than the isotopically heavy evaporated waters found within the Lower Volta River. These results would therefore be useful for water balance studies in the study area.