Groundwater pollution index (GPI) and GIS-based appraisal of groundwater quality for drinking and irrigation in coastal aquifers of Tiruchendur, South India.


Kamaraj J(1)(2), Sekar S(3), Roy PD(4), Senapathi V(5), Chung SY(6), Perumal M(1), Nath AV(1).
Author information:
(1)Department of Geology, V.O. Chidambaram College, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India.
(2)Registration No. 18212232061030, Affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli-627012, Tamil Nadu, India.
(3)Department of Geology, V.O. Chidambaram College, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India. [Email]
(4)Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
(UNAM), Ciudad Universitaria, CP 04510, Ciudad de México, México.
(5)Department of Disaster Management, Alagappa University, Karaikudi 630003, Tamil Nadu, India.
(6)Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Institute of Environmental Geosciences, Pukyong National University, Busan, 608-737, Korea.


We assessed groundwater pollution index (GPI) and groundwater quality of coastal aquifers from Tiruchendur in South India for drinking and irrigation by evaluating the physico-chemical parameters of 35 samples of mainly Na-Cl type in an area of 470 km2 with respect to the World Health Organization (WHO) standard as well as by estimating different indices such as total hardness (TH), sodium percentage (Na%), magnesium ratio (MR), Kelley's ratio index (KR), potential salinity (PS), Langelier saturation index (LSI), residual sodium carbonate (RSC), sodium adsorption rate (SAR), permeability index (PI), and the irrigation water quality index (IWQI). Minimal influence of aquifer lithology and the dominant influence of evaporation on groundwater chemistry reflected the semi-arid climate of the study area. Electrical conductivity (EC) of about 89% of the samples across 418 km2 exceeded the permissible limit and Ca values of 74% of samples, however, remained within the allowable limit for drinking. More chloride was caused by influx of seawater and salt leaching and higher K was due to excessive fertilizer usage for agriculture. The spatial distribution map created using inverse distance weighting (IDW) method shows that the suitable groundwater is present close to the river basin. GPI values between 0.40 and 4.7, with an average of 1.5, classify insignificant pollution in 43% of the study region and the groundwater suitable for drinking purposes. In addition, 17% of the groundwater samples are also marginally suitable for drinking. The irrigation water quality indices provided contradictory assessments. Indices of TH, Na%, MR, PS, and LSI suggested 32-95% of the samples as unsuitable for irrigation, whereas the indices of RSC, SAR, and PI grouped 72-100% samples as permissible for irrigation. The IWQI map, however, indicated that the groundwater from more than half of the study area are not apt for irrigation and the groundwater of about one-third of the area could only be applied to salt-resistant plants.