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01.03.2011 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2011

Environmental Earth Sciences 5/2011

Geochemical and isotopic studies of groundwater conditions in the Densu River Basin of Ghana

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 5/2011
Autoren:
D. Adomako, S. Osae, T. T. Akiti, S. Faye, P. Maloszewski

Abstract

The Densu River Basin (DRB) is an important agricultural area in Ghana and has a high population density. Water shortages have occurred in the basin due to drying out of surface water, heavy pollution and low yield in most of the production wells, which are crucial factors restricting sustainable socioeconomic development. This study was carried out to investigate the geochemical characteristics and evolution, as well as recharge processes in the DRB system with regard to the tectonics, geomorphology, lithology and flow system. It mainly used hydrochemistry, environmental isotopes and a series of comprehensive data interpretation, e.g., statistics, ionic ratios and Piper diagram to obtain a better understanding of the functioning of the system. The following hydrochemical processes were identified as the main factors controlling the water quality of the groundwater system: weathering of silicate minerals, dissolution, ion exchange and, to a lesser extent, evaporation, which seems to be more pronounced downgradient of the flow system. As groundwater flows from the recharge to discharge areas, chemical patterns evolve in the order of Ca2+–HCO3 , Ca2+/Mg2+–HCO3 to Ca2+/Na+–Cl, Ca2+–Na+–HCO3 and Na+–Cl according to lithology. The environmental isotope (δ18O, δ2H, 3H) measurements further revealed that groundwater in the DRB was a relatively well-mixed system as evidenced by the encoded narrow range of values. However, deviation from the rainwater signature indicates combined local processes such as direct percolation through preferential channels, evaporation, and probable surface water and anthropogenic contribution to the system.

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