• Phreatic Water Quality Assessment and Associated Hydrogeochemical Processes in an Irrigated Region Along the Upper Yellow River, Northwestern China

      Liu, Fei; Zhao, Zhipeng; Yang, Lihu; Ma, Yuxue; Li, Bingliang; Gong, Liang; Liu, Haiyan; Univ Arizona, Dept Hydrol & Atmospher Sci (MDPI, 2020-02-10)
      Groundwater resources are playing an increasingly vital role in water supply for domestic and irrigation purposes in the Yinchuan Plain, along with the reduction in water transfer from the Yellow River. This study aimed to identify the current status of phreatic water quality and associated hydrogeochemical processes in an irrigated region along the upper Yellow River. A total of 78 water samples were collected in September 2018 for chemical analysis. Results showed that the phreatic water was excellent or good in most areas west of the Yellow River, while it was poor or very poor quality in some places east of the Yellow River. The nitrate contamination is particularly severe in the pluvial-alluvial plain, relating to the localized fine-grained zone with low permeability. Most samples had no sodium hazard but had magnesium hazard. Additionally, the overall evolutionary trend of the phreatic water showed the transformation of Ca-Mg-HCO3 into Na-Cl-SO4 type. Rock weathering and evaporation jointly predominate the evolution of phreatic water chemistry. The main geochemical processes involve the dissolution/precipitation of gypsum, halite, dolomite. and calcite, along with the cation exchange. Insights from this work have important implications for groundwater sustainable management in such irrigated regions along the upper Yellow River.