Hydrogeochemical characteristics and evaluation of groundwater quality for domestic and irrigation purposes: A case study of the Heuningnes Catchment, Western Cape Province, South Africa
Donker, Jan van Bever
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Knowing the quality of water is imperative if the water is meant for drinking or agricultural purposes. The spatial and temporal groundwater quality in the Heuningnes Catchment was investigated, and its appropriateness for irrigation and drinking purposes was considered. Thirty-one samples were collected and analysed for physical (pH, EC, TDS) and chemical (Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO3 −, Cl−, SO4 2−) parameters. Maps demonstrating the spatial and temporal distribution of groundwater quality were constructed using Geographical Information System software. These maps indicate variations in the concentration of various water quality parameters in the region. Groundwater in the region is mostly alkaline and is categorised as either fresh, brackish or saline based on TDS classifcation. Using Piper diagrams, it is shown that Na+–Cl− water type is the main water type in the area. The quality is mostly infuenced by chemical weathering of rockforming minerals. Over 50% of groundwater in the region is not ft for drinking purposes as established from WHO (2011) and SANS241 criteria. Following SAR criteria, looking at Na%, PI, MH, KR and salinity hazard for irrigation assessment, it was discovered that shallow groundwater in the region was not ft for irrigation purposes. However, groundwater from deeper boreholes proved otherwise. The study has shown that not all-available groundwater is suitable for either drinking or irrigation.