Groundwater chemistry in selected sub-watersheds of Udyavara River basin

Project in charge: Akshitha

Photo: Location map of the study area

Thematic Area: Hydrogeology 

Project Guide(s): K Baalakrishna, Professor, MIT, MAHE

International partners: (If any)

MAHE Partner: 

Village/City: Udupi district

Project Duration: 3 years

Aim: To assess the natural and anthropogenic processes affecting the groundwater chemistry in selected sub-watersheds of Udyavara River basin.

The study/ Innovation:  

Groundwater samples were collected seasonally for one year in coastal region of Udupi district (N=300). The physico-chemical parameters and major ions were determined in the laboratory. Ionic ratios have shown that coastal wells were contaminated with saltwater intrusion during the pre-monsoon season [1]. Drinking water quality index estimation revealed that 84 groundwater samples are excellent for drinking purposes, seven are good, four are poor, two are very poor and three are considered to be unsuitable for drinking [2]. The western part of study area is considered to be contaminated due the influence of saltwater. Based on their quality, the samples were classified into different clusters. Sample clusters with high nitrate were in densely inhabited areas, whereas sample clusters with moderate salt content in the coastal areas. Another cluster showed high concentrations of salts, typically the zones of saltwater intrusion. Saltwater intruded groundwater wells are unsuitable for drinking due to high chlorine concentration. This resulted in unavailability of water resources for drinking purpose during pre- monsoon season in the coastal region. Heavy metal analysis results evaluated that few groundwater samples have high Al, Mn and Zn beyond the prescribed limits of drinking water standards. Human health risk assessment revealed that children are more vulnerable to non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risk than infants and adults in the stud area. Moderate carcinogenic risk was observed in 20% and 8% of the monsoon and pre-monsoon season samples respectively [3]. Researchers identified that increased groundwater pumping is one of the important causes for saltwater intrusion. In addition, it is been observed that urbanization has resulted in increasing concrete cover and decreasing vegetation cover in Udupi. The concrete cap acts as an impermeable layer, inhibiting the water to percolate inside the ground. This has incompetently affected the groundwater recharge process. Sustainable urban development and reduced groundwater pumping are the possible approaches to reduce the saltwater intrusion. The study recommends mitigative measures to reduce the impact of anthropogenic sources in the study area. The findings of the research will assist policymakers in identifying regions where water management policies can be implemented.




Akshitha V, Balakrishna K and Udayashankar HN (2021) Assessment of hydrogeochemical characteristics and saltwater intrusion in selected coastal aquifers of southwestern India. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 173: 112989; DOI: (IF: 7.001; Q1-Top10%)

Akshitha V, Balakrishna K and Udayashankar HN (2022). Evaluation of Groundwater Quality Using GIS Techniques in Part of Udupi District, Karnataka, Southern India. In: Dikshit, A.K., Narasimhan, B., Kumar, B., Patel, A.K. (eds) Innovative Trends in Hydrological and Environmental Systems. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, vol 234. Springer, Singapore.  (Book chapter)

Akshitha, V., Balakrishna, K., Hegde, P., & Udayashankar, H. N. (2022). Evaluation of heavy metal contamination and human health risk using geo-statistical techniques in selected shallow hard rock aquifers of southwest India. Groundwater for Sustainable Development, 100812; DOI:  (Cite Score: 7.9; Q1-Top10%)

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