Analysis of Indus Delta Groundwater and Surface water Suitability for Domestic and Irrigation Purposes

Ghulam Shabir Solangi, Altaf Ali Siyal, Pirah Siyal


The present study was conducted to analyze the suitability of groundwater and surface water of the Indus Delta, Pakistan for domestic and irrigation purposes based on the concentrations of arsenic (As), total dissolved solids (TDS), and chloride (Cl). Around 180 georeferenced groundwater and 50 surface water samples randomly collected were analyzed and mapped spatially using ArcGIS 10.5 software. The results were compared with their respective WHO and FAO guidelines. The analysis revealed that as in groundwater and surface water samples ranged up to 200, and 25 µg/L respectively. Similarly, the TDS in the groundwater and surface water ranged from 203 to 17, 664 mg/L and 378 to 38,272 mg/L respectively. The Cl in groundwater and surface water varied between 131 and 6,275 mg/L and 440 to 17,406 mg/L respectively. Overall, about 18%, 87% and 94% of the groundwater, and 10%, 92% and 56% of the surface waters possessed higher concentrations of As, TDS, and Cl, respectively. The higher levels of Cl in the samples are attributed to subsurface seawater intrusion in the delta. Analysis results and GIS mapping of water quality parameters revealed that in most of the delta, the quality of water was not suitable for drinking and agricultural purposes, thus should be properly treated before its use.


Coastal Areas; Arsenic; Chloride; TDS; Spatial Analysis; GIS; Statistical Analysis.


Bibi, Shagufta, R. L. Khan, Ruqia Nazir, Pirzada Khan, Hameed Ur Rehman, Shakirullah Khan Shakir, Sonia Naz, M. A. Waheed, and Rahmatullah Jan. "Heavy Metals Analysis in Drinking Water of Lakki Marwat District, KPK, Pakistan." World applied sciences journal 34, no. 1 (2016): 15-19.

Arslan, Şebnem, Çiğdem Yücel, Süleyman Selim Çallı, and Mehmet Çelik. “Assessment of Heavy Metal Pollution in the Groundwater of the Northern Develi Closed Basin, Kayseri, Turkey.” Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 99, no. 2 (June 2, 2017): 244–252. doi:10.1007/s00128-017-2119-1.

Şener, Şehnaz, Erhan Şener, and Ayşen Davraz. “Evaluation of Water Quality Using Water Quality Index (WQI) Method and GIS in Aksu River (SW-Turkey).” Science of The Total Environment 584–585 (April 2017): 131–144. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.102.

Yousefi, Mahmood, Mahboobeh Ghoochani, and Amir Hossein Mahvi. “Health Risk Assessment to Fluoride in Drinking Water of Rural Residents Living in the Poldasht City, Northwest of Iran.” Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 148 (February 2018): 426–430. doi:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.10.057.

Saleh, Hossein Najafi, Maryam Panahande, Mahmood Yousefi, Farzaneh Baghal Asghari, Gea Oliveri Conti, Elham Talaee, and Ali Akbar Mohammadi. “Carcinogenic and Non-Carcinogenic Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Groundwater Wells in Neyshabur Plain, Iran.” Biological Trace Element Research 190, no. 1 (September 17, 2018): 251–261. doi:10.1007/s12011-018-1516-6.

Alrumman SA, El-kott AF, Kehsk M. A. “Water pollution: Source and treatment”. American journal of Environmental Engineering, 6, 3, 88-98 (2016).

Briggs, David. “Environmental Pollution and the Global Burden of Disease.” British Medical Bulletin 68, no. 1 (December 1, 2003): 1–24. doi:10.1093/bmb/ldg019.

Haseena, Mehtab, Muhammad Faheem Malik, Asma Javed, Sidra Arshad, Nayab Asif, Sharon Zulfiqar, and Jaweria Hanif. “Water Pollution and Human Health.” Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation 01, no. 03 (2017). doi:10.4066/2529-8046.100020.

Solangi, Ghulam Shabir, Altaf Ali Siyal, Muhammad Muneer Babar, and Pirah Siyal. “Groundwater Quality Mapping Using Geographic Information System: A Case Study of District Thatta, Sindh.” Mehran University Research Journal of Engineering and Technology 36, no. 4 (October 1, 2017): 1059–1072. doi:10.22581/muet1982.1704.30.

World Health Organization, Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, 4th ed., 2011. Available at:

Khan, Naeem, Syed Tasleem Hussain, Abdus Saboor, Nargis Jamila, and Kyong Su Kim. "Physicochemical investigation of the drinking water sources from Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan." Life Science Journal 16, no. 3 (2019). doi:10.7537/marslsj160319.09.

Khan, Mashhood Ahmad, and Arsalan Mujahid Ghouri. "Environmental pollution: its effects on life and its remedies." Researcher World: Journal of Arts, Science & Commerce 2, no. 2 (2011): 276-285.

Husain, V. I. Q. A. R., H. I. N. A. Nizam, and GHULAM MURTAZA Arain. "Arsenic and fluoride mobilization mechanism in groundwater of Indus Delta and Thar Desert, Sindh, Pakistan." International Journal of Economic and Environmental Geology 3 (2012): 15-23.

Solangi, Ghulam Shabir, Altaf Ali Siyal, Muhammad Munir Babar, and Pirah Siyal. "Evaluation of surface water quality using the water quality index (WQI) and the synthetic pollution index (SPI): a case study of Indus Delta region of Pakistan." Desalination and Water Treatment 118 (2018): 39-48.

Ahmed, R., M. Hussain, R. Tanwir, and S. A. Qureshi. "Monitoring of fluoride and iodide levels in drinking water using ion selective electrodes." Nucleus (Islamabad) 41, no. 1-4 (2004): 51-58.

Baig, Jameel Ahmed, Tasneem Gul Kazi, Muhammad Balal Arain, Hassan Imran Afridi, Ghulam Abbas Kandhro, Raja Adil Sarfraz, Muhammad Khan Jamal, and Abdul Qadir Shah. “Evaluation of Arsenic and Other Physico-Chemical Parameters of Surface and Ground Water of Jamshoro, Pakistan.” Journal of Hazardous Materials 166, no. 2–3 (July 30, 2009): 662–669. doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.11.069.

Memon, Mehrunisa, Mohammed Saleh Soomro, Mohammad Saleem Akhtar, and Kazi Suleman Memon. “Drinking Water Quality Assessment in Southern Sindh (Pakistan).” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 177, no. 1–4 (July 27, 2010): 39–50. doi:10.1007/s10661-010-1616-z.

Solangi, Ghulam Shabir, Altaf Ali Siyal, Muhammad Munir Babar, and Pirah Siyal. “Evaluation of Drinking Water Quality Using the Water Quality Index (WQI), the Synthetic Pollution Index (SPI) and Geospatial Tools in Thatta District, Pakistan.” Desalination and Water Treatment 160 (2019): 202–213. doi:10.5004/dwt.2019.24241.

Solangi, Ghulam Shabir, Altaf Ali Siyal, Muhammad Munir Babar, and Pirah Siyal. “Groundwater Quality Evaluation Using the Water Quality Index (WQI), the Synthetic Pollution Index (SPI), and Geospatial Tools: a Case Study of Sujawal District, Pakistan.” Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal (April 7, 2019): 1–21. doi:10.1080/10807039.2019.1588099.

Alamgir, Aamir, Moazzam Ali Khan, Janpeter Schilling, S. Shahid Shaukat, and Shoaib Shahab. “Assessment of Groundwater Quality in the Coastal Area of Sindh Province, Pakistan.” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 188, no. 2 (January 6, 2016). doi:10.1007/s10661-015-5061-x.

Alamgir, A., Khan, M.A., Shaukat, S.S., Kazmi, S.J, Qureshi, S., & Khanum F. “Appraisal of Climate Change Impacts on the Coastal Areas of Sindh Using Remote Sensing Techniques”. American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 15, 6, 1102-1112 (2015).

Jafari, Khadijeh, Farzaneh Baghal Asghari, Edris Hoseinzadeh, Zahra Heidari, Majid Radfard, Hossein Najafi Saleh, and Hossein Faraji. “Groundwater Quality Assessment for Drinking and Agriculture Purposes in Abhar City, Iran.” Data in Brief 19 (August 2018): 1033–1039. doi:10.1016/j.dib.2018.05.096.

Siyal, A. A., A. G. Siyal, and R. B. Mahar. “Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Pai Forest Vegetation in Pakistan Assessed by RS and GIS.” Journal of Forestry Research 28, no. 3 (October 22, 2016): 593–603. doi:10.1007/s11676-016-0327-x.

Rokbani, M. K., M. Gueddari, and R. Bouhlila. "Use of geographical information system and water quality index to assess groundwater quality in El Khairat deep aquifer (Enfidha, Tunisian Sahel)." Iranica journal of Energy and Environment 2, no. 2 (2011): 133-144.

P. Balakrishnan. “Groundwater Quality Mapping Using Geographic Information System (GIS): A Case Study of Gulbarga City, Karnataka, India.” African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 5, no. 12 (December 2011). doi:10.5897/ajest11.134.

Khuhawar, Muhammad Yar, Rafi O. Zaman Brohi, Taj Muhammad Jahangir, and Muhammad Farooque Lanjwani. “Water Quality Assessment of Ramser Site, Indus Delta, Sindh, Pakistan.” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 190, no. 8 (July 30, 2018). doi:10.1007/s10661-018-6756-6.

Das, Nandana, Somnath Paul, Debmita Chatterjee, Nilanjana Banerjee, Niladri S Majumder, Nilendu Sarma, Tanmoy J Sau, et al. “Arsenic Exposure through Drinking Water Increases the Risk of Liver and Cardiovascular Diseases in the Population of West Bengal, India.” BMC Public Health 12, no. 1 (August 10, 2012). doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-639.

Patil, P. N., D. V. Sawant, and R. N. Deshmukh. "Physico-chemical parameters for testing of water-A review." International Journal of Environmental Sciences 3, no. 3 (2012): 1194-1207.

Adamu, G. K. "Quality of irrigation water and soil characteristics of Watari irrigation project." American Journal of Engineering Research 2, no. 3 (2013): 59-68.

FAO, Guidelines, Land Evaluation for Irrigated Agriculture, Soil Bull. No 55, FAO, Rome, Italy, 1985.

Ewaid, Salam Hussein. “Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Gharraf River by Two Water Quality Indices.” Applied Water Science 7, no. 7 (December 26, 2016): 3759–3765. doi:10.1007/s13201-016-0523-z.

Mass, E.V., Crop Salt Tolerance, K.K. Tanji, Ed. “Agricultural Salinity Assessment and Management Manual”. ASCE, New York, 262–304 (1990).

Karanth, K.R. “Groundwater Assessment Development and Management”. Handbook, Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi, India (2004).

Khumaedi, Supriyadi. “Geophysical and Hydrochemical Approach for Seawater Intrusion in North Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia.” International Journal of GEOMATE 12, no. 31 (March 1, 2017). doi:10.21660/2017.31.50405.

Arulbalaji, P., and B. Gurugnanam. “Groundwater Quality Assessment Using Geospatial and Statistical Tools in Salem District, Tamil Nadu, India.” Applied Water Science 7, no. 6 (November 22, 2016): 2737–2751. doi:10.1007/s13201-016-0501-5.

Hoseinzadeh, Edris, Chiang Wei, Mahdi Safari, and Hatam Godini. “Evaluation of Rainwater Quality Using Factor Analysis: Case Study of Khorramabad in Western Iran.” Desalination and Water Treatment 57, no. 53 (March 11, 2016): 25345–25357. doi:10.1080/19443994.2016.1154895.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.28991/cej-2019-03091356


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Ghulam Shabir Solangi, Altaf Ali Siyal, Pirah Siyal

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.