Demystifying the decadal shift in the extent of groundwater in the coastal aquifers of Gujarat, India: A case of reduced extent but increased magnitude of seawater intrusion

Manish Kumar*, Durga Prasad Panday, Chandrashekhar Bhagat, Nilkanth Herbha, Vivek Agarwal

*Corresponding author for this work

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Catastrophic increase in urbanisation and industrialisation along the coastal region leads to increased stress on groundwater reservoirs worldwide. As a growing economy, India faces extreme water crises due to rising water demand and escalating salinisation, specifically in the coastal districts. Therefore, this study shows the implication of a comprehensive modelling approach to assess the spatiotemporal changes in hydrogeochemical processes in the coastal aquifer of the Surat district. Using a multi-model assessment approach, the present study focuses on the decadal evolution in groundwater quality of the coastal aquifers of Surat, Gujarat. Fifty-one groundwater samples were collected for 2008, 2012, and 2018 to assess the spatio-temporal shift in groundwater quality. Piper diagram revealed a shift of hydrogeochemical facies from Mg 2+-HCO 3 type to Ca 2+-Mg 2+-Cl type, indicating the increased salinisation over a decade. The result suggests that rock-water interaction, seawater intrusion mechanism, and anthropogenic activities (intensive agricultural activities and improper waste management) govern the hydrogeochemical processes in the coastal aquifer. A shift of dominance of carbonate weathering to silicate weathering with the dissolution of calcite, dolomite, and gypsum, changing the hydrogeochemistry, was observed over the last decades. This shift leads to the increasing hardness of groundwater. The enrichment of nutrients in groundwater during 2018 (NO 3 = 2 to 85 mg. L −1) compared to 2008 (NO 3 = 1 to 36 mg.L −1) indicates the increasing imprints of agricultural fertilizer application and human organic waste through sewage contamination on the coastal aquifer. The seawater mixing index model demonstrates that extent of seawater intrusion reduced in 2018 compared to 2012, but the magnitude increased near the coastal talukas (SMI =9.5). The present study helps to understand the increasing anthropogenic activities over a decade leading to increased salinisation and groundwater contamination in the aquifer system. This work can help local stakeholders, water resource managers, and the state government manage the groundwater resources and the future potential threat of aquifer contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165451
JournalThe Science of the Total Environment
Early online date12 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2023

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