Groundwater Availability in the Shallow Aquifers of the Southern Voltaian System: a Simulation and Chemical Analysis

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A steady state groundwater flow simulation model was developed using available well data and general hydrogeological and geological information, for the Afram Plains area, Ghana. The hydrochemistry of groundwater from wells in the area was then evaluated to determine its suitability for irrigation and domestic uses. The assessment of the irrigation quality of groundwater from this area was based on salinity (EC) and sodium adsorption ratios (SAR), residual sodium carbonate (RSC), and permeability indices (PI). The simulation model reveals that groundwater in the Afram Plains area generally flows from the midsections in the neighborhood of Tease and surrounding areas, where significant recharge takes place, to the outer regions and discharges into the Volta Lake in the southern and eastern sections of the area. Flow magnitude and piezometric maps suggest that there is probably of less potential for groundwater extraction for sustainable irrigation in the central regions of the area, when compared to the other discharge areas. This study reveals that more than 70% of the samples analyzed fall within the C2-S1 category, referring to the medium level salinity and low sodium. Medium salinity waters may be used for irrigation on coarse textured soils with good permeability. About 15% of the data fall within the C3-S2 category, referring to water of high salinity and medium sodicity. High salinity, medium sodicity irrigation water cannot be used on fine-grained soils where drainage is restricted. This is because restricted flow is likely to result in the accumulation of salts in the root zones of crops, leading to salinity and soil clogging crisis. About 3% falls within the C3-S3 (high salinity, high sodicity) category. This category requires special soil management including improved drainage, heavy leaching and the use of chemical amendments on the water. Only one point plots within the extreme salinity-sodicity range. Concentrations of fluoride, arsenic and other natural elements in the area generally fall well within the world health standards for domestic water.



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