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Hydrochemical characteristics of groundwater and surface water for domestic and irrigation purposes in Vea catchment, Northern Ghana

Koffi, Kouakou Valentin, Obuobie, Emmanuel, Banning, Andre, Wohnlich, Stefan
Environmental earth sciences 2017 v.76 no.4 pp. 185
World Health Organization, absorption, ammonium, basins, bicarbonates, calcium, cation exchange, chlorides, color, dissolved oxygen, drinking, electrical conductivity, groundwater, guidelines, hydrogeochemistry, irrigation, magnesium, nitrates, nitrites, pH, permeability, phosphates, potassium, rivers, rocks, salinity, silicates, sodium, sodium carbonate, sulfates, surface water, total dissolved solids, turbidity, water hardness, watersheds, weathering, Ghana
The Vea catchment, mainly underlain by crystalline basement rocks, is located in Northern Ghana. Hydrogeochemical studies were carried out in this area with the objective of identifying the geochemical processes influencing water quality and suitability of surface and groundwater for agricultural and domestic uses. Sixty-one groundwater and four surface water samples were collected from boreholes, dams and rivers and analysed for Ca²⁺, Mg²⁺, Na⁺, K⁺, HCO₃⁻, Cl⁻, and SO₄²⁻, Feₜₒₜ, PO₄³⁻, Mnₜₒₜ, NH₄⁺, NO₃⁻, NO₂⁻. In addition, pH, total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity, total hardness, turbidity, colour, salinity and dissolved oxygen were analysed. Chloro-alkaline indices 1 and 2, and characterization of weathering processes suggest that the chemistry of groundwater is dominated by the interaction between water and rocks. Cation exchange and silicate weathering are the dominant processes controlling the chemical composition of the groundwater in the area studied. Mineral saturation indices indicate the presence of at least three groups of groundwater in the Vea catchment with respect to residence time. The meteoric genesis index suggests that 86% of the water samples belong to the shallow meteoric water percolation type. The findings further suggest that the groundwater and surface water in the basin studied are mainly Ca–Mg–HCO₃ water type, regardless of the geology. Compared to the water quality guidelines of WHO, the study results on sodium absorption ratio, sodium percentage, magnesium hazard, permeability index and residual sodium carbonate indicate that groundwater and surface water in the Vea catchment are generally suitable for drinking and irrigation purposes.