Impact of land use/land cover on groundwater resources in tropical unconfined aquifers of south-western India

Vignesh Akshitha, Keshava Balakrishna, Harikripa Narayana Udayashankar

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Groundwater quality assessment is essential to understand land use impacts and implement water management plans. The present study aims to assess the impact of land use/land cover (LULC) on the groundwater table, and its quality in the tropical unconfined aquifers. Two hundred groundwater samples were collected from 100 sampling wells during monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. The drinking water quality index and irrigation quality indices were estimated based on the various parameters obtained from the laboratory analysis. Human health risk concerning nitrate contamination was evaluated based on the USEPA method. The land-use/land-cover map prepared using ArcGIS showed that the study area consists dominantly of croplands. Drinking water quality index results suggested that the groundwater samples were excellent to moderately suitable for drinking purposes. Only one sample was unsuitable for drinking. The different irrigation quality indices revealed various degrees of groundwater suitability for irrigation purposes. The spatial distribution of the corrosivity ratio suggests avoiding the metal pipe, for transportation of groundwater supply in the northern part of the study area. Fertilizers used in agriculture and soak pit leakages have contributed to high nitrate concentration in a few parts of the study area. Human health risk assessment showed that infants are vulnerable to non-carcinogenic health risks. The impact of the LULC assessment revealed that groundwater quality was moderately suitable for drinking in urban land. The study suggests implementing proper sewage treatment measures to avoid groundwater contamination. Overall, the findings are important in adopting site-specific, groundwater management strategies in the study area. Polluted and unpolluted areas demarcated in the study are beneficial for decision-makers to develop suitable groundwater management plans. The study recommends informed LULC development in the study area to improve groundwater quality and reduce human health risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114994
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 01-02-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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