Study of variation in groundwater quality in a coastal aquifer in north-eastern Tunisia using multivariate factor analysis
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AbstractThis work focuses on the Grombalia aquifer which constitutes the main water resource in Northeast Tunisia, Cap Bon Peninsula. The recharge of this aquifer is ensured mainly by direct infiltration of rainwater through permeable layers. Under semi-arid climatic conditions and increasing water demand for irrigation, about 80% of the Grombalia aquifer system shows different vulnerabilities to anthropogenic activities. The total dissolved solids values range from 0.75 to 5.6g/l.Isotopic characterization with stable isotopes (δ2H and δ18O) of Grombalia aquifer system identified geochemistry processes that control water chemistry. In addition, the multivariate statistical technique (Principal Component Analysis) was used to identify the origin, the recharge mode and geochemical processes controlling groundwater quality. The principal reactions responsible for the hydrochemical evolution in the Grombalia groundwater fall into three categories: (1) denitrification process; (2) dissolution of salts; and (3) irrigation return flow process. Tritium data in groundwater from the study area suggest the existence of pre1950 and post1960 recharge. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.
SponsorsThe authors wish to thank the Laboratory of the International Agency of Atomic Energy (IAEA) for the financial support provided to the Technical Cooperation project (TUN 8/019) within which this work was carried out. Thanks are given to the staff members of Nabeul Water Resources Division/Agriculture Ministry.