Main content area

Input of geophysics to understand hydrogeology towards the assessment of geoenvironmental conditions in Beira city, Mozambique

Ramalho, E.C., Fernandes, J., Daudi, E., Quental, L., Dias, R., Oliveira, J.T., Batista, M.J., Cune, G., Ussene, U., Milisse, D., Balate, G., Manhiça, V.
Environmental earth sciences 2018 v.77 no.1 pp. 15
brackish water, cities, environmental protection, geochemistry, geophysics, groundwater, hydrogeology, issues and policy, land management, prediction, remote sensing, soil pollution, surveys, urban areas, Indian Ocean, Mozambique, Portugal
As the fourth largest city in Mozambique, and located right beside the Indian Ocean, Beira faces sanitary and environmental problems that are a strong concern to the local and national authorities. One of the major problems that Beira city has to deal with is the existence of undrinkable groundwater in many dug-wells that supply a large amount of the city population. The cooperation project among Direcção Nacional de Geologia of Mozambique, the Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia of Portugal and the Instituto de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Português that took place from 2007 to 2011 has as one of its main goals the production of the Geological and Geoenvironmental Maps of Beira at scale 1:50,000, intending to create a tool to support the implementation of governmental policies regarding sustainable groundwater and natural resources exploitations, land management and environmental protection. These goals were achieved through the identification, characterization and mapping of the different geological units and the evaluation of the city environmental problems regarding water and soil contamination in urban areas, involving the use of several methodologies that were subsequently integrated and jointly interpreted. These comprised remote sensing techniques, hydrogeology analysis and evaluation and the use of geochemistry and electrical geophysical methods. This work emphasizes the input of geophysical and hydrogeological methods to assess the geoenvironmental conditions of Beira, namely those related with the prediction of occurrence of saline and brackish water in the shallow dug-wells that supply a large amount of Beira populations, especially in the crowded suburbs. Several geophysical surveys using electrical and electromagnetic methods were conducted and interpreted regarding the evaluation of the several hypotheses that were stood for this feature. Results are related with hydrogeological conditions and organic and inorganic hydrochemical analysis. Considering these facts, this study was an important input for mapping areas with saline and brackish water imprisoned in the subsurface geological formations, using a wider set of methodologies that were integrated in these results.