Hydrogeochemistry of a strategic alluvial aquifer system in a semi-arid setting and its implications for potable urban water supply: The Lodwar Alluvial Aquifer System (LAAS)

Citation:
Tanui F, Olago D, Dulo SI, Ouma G, Kuria Z. "Hydrogeochemistry of a strategic alluvial aquifer system in a semi-arid setting and its implications for potable urban water supply: The Lodwar Alluvial Aquifer System (LAAS)." Groundwater for Sustainable Development. 2020;11:100451.

Abstract:

Lodwar Municipality is one of the fastest-growing urban areas of Sub-Saharan Africa that depends mainly on groundwater for its municipal water supply. Most of the groundwater sources are located within the riparian zones of the Turkwel River. With limited understanding of its aquifers, the groundwater of Lodwar may be at risk of natural processes and anthropogenic activities. Statistical techniques and geochemical methods were applied to determine the aquifer hydrogeochemistry. Three distinct aquifers, which we collectively refer to as the Lodwar Alluvial Aquifer System, underlie Lodwar and its environs, the shallow alluvial, intermediate, and deep aquifers which are the main source of fresh water. A fourth, the shallow aquifer of the Turkana grit, is highly saline and with fluoride contamination. Just as the Turkwel River, the shallow alluvial aquifer (SAA) was dominated by Ca–HCO3 water type, while the TGSA was Na–Cl water type and became Na–HCO3 near the Holocene sediments. The intermediate aquifer (IA) was Na–HCO3water type. Pockets of Mg–HCO3 water occurred in the shallow alluvial and intermediate aquifers. The natural processes in the SAA include rock-water interaction, recharge by surface water, and oxidation reactions, while evaporation and dissolution are the major factors controlling the chemistry of the TGSA. Ion exchange, dilution, and dissolution are the major processes in the IA. Elevated levels of NO3− and SO42− during the wet season within the SAA and the IA reflects their vulnerability to pollution. Saline intrusion into the shallow and intermediate aquifers from the Turkana grit aquifers is likely to occur.

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