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Groundwater salinization and associated co-contamination risk increase severe drinking water vulnerabilities in the southwestern coast of Bangladesh

Rakib, M.A., Sasaki, Jun, Matsuda, Hirotaka, Quraishi, Shamshad B., Mahmud, Md. Juel, Bodrud-Doza, Md., Ullah, A.K.M. Atique, Fatema, Konica J., Newaz, Md. Asif, Bhuiyan, Mohammad A.H.
Chemosphere 2020 v.246 pp. 125646
aquifers, calcium, chemical pollutants, chlorides, climate change, coasts, drinking water, electrical conductivity, environmental exposure, floods, fluorides, groundwater, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, questionnaires, risk, salinity, saltwater intrusion, sea level, sodium, storms, surveys, total dissolved solids, toxic substances, water policy, water pollution, water quality, water salinization, water security, water shortages, Bangladesh
Household drinking water security is one of the major issues among coastal communities in Bangladesh. To examine the groundwater quality and social consequences, groundwater samples and household questionnaires were administered across the study area. Instrumental and statistical tools were used to analyze the water quality and social survey data. The average concentrations of electrical conductivity (EC) (7135.67 μS/cm), total dissolved solids (TDS) (3691 mg/L), Na⁺ (1569.51 mg/L), Ca²⁺ (289.5 mg/L), Mg²⁺ (340.51 mg/L), Cl⁻ (2940.78 mg/L), F⁻ (11.85 mg/L), NO₃⁻ (54.44 mg/L), NO₂⁻ (162.95 mg/L), PO₄³⁻ (105.19 mg/L), Fe (4.9 mg/L), Mn (1.22 mg/L), As (16.55 μg/L), B (833.28 μg/L), and Pb (34.22 μg/L) were observed in groundwater, and exceeded the drinking water standards from 30% to 100% depending on the sampling location. Thus, the remarkably high contents of EC, TDS, Cl⁻, and Na⁺ represented possible saltwater intrusion along the coastal aquifer. The positive correlations between EC and trace and toxic elements indicated the potential influence of groundwater salinization on the dissolution of more chemical contaminants in the aquifer. These results showed that 100% of samples were unsuitable for drinking purposes. Severe drinking water scarcity is a serious issue, and local people have been affected by water-related diseases owing to the long-term consumption of contaminated water. Salinity problems in drinking water and related health diseases have increased significantly in the past several years. In addition, climate change and its associated hazards, including sea-level rise, cyclonic storm surges, flooding, and resulting inundation problems, have intensified the drinking water scarcity and health problems at the community level. To ensure household water security, environmental exposure, hydrogeology, and anthropogenic interventions must be considered to determine future sustainable water policies.