IJG  Vol.6 No.1 , January 2015
Spatio-Temporal Variability of Shallow Groundwater Quality in a Hilly Red-Soil Agricultural Catchment in Subtropical Central China
Abstract: Groundwater quality varies not only in space but also in time. In order to analyze the spatiotemporal variety of ground water quality, the concentration of ammonium nitrogen (NH4N), nitrate nitrogen (NO3N), total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) in very shallow groundwater were investigated in a red-soil catchment in subtropical central China, based on a three-dimensional kriging method. The spatio-temporal analysis demonstrated that NH4N, NO3N and TP presented strong spatio-temporal autocorrelation (with a nugget-to-sill ratio of <25%) and that TN presented a moderate spatio-temporal autocorrelation (with a nugget-to-sill ratio between 25% and 75%). According to the Chinese Groundwater Quality Standards, the ratio of areas contaminated by NH4N, NO3N, TN and TP to the whole catchment was 20.05%, 1.46%, 5.07%, 5.98%, respectively. The 3D delineation of continuously dynamic variation of contaminated area indicated that the catchment’s very shallow groundwater had a moderate contamination by NH4N, slight by TN and TP, and almost non by NO3N. Although the contaminated area was very small, only occurring in small dispersed patches, a close attention should be paid to the shallow groundwater quality because local farmers obtain their domestic drinking water directly from this shallow groundwater without any treatment prior to consuming and the potential health hazard is considerable. The findings from this study highlight the importance of surveillance of the contaminated area over time for decision making to protect public health and maintain sustainable development of the catchment.
Cite this paper: Luo, Q. , Li, Y. , Li, Y. , Liu, X. , Xiao, R. , Wu, J. , (2015) Spatio-Temporal Variability of Shallow Groundwater Quality in a Hilly Red-Soil Agricultural Catchment in Subtropical Central China. International Journal of Geosciences, 6, 1-11. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2015.61001.

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