The WR-2 watershed is located in the Deccan trap basaltic terrain of Maharashtra State, India. The watershed area incorporates a rich orange orchard belt that requires a huge quantity of water for irrigation. This requirement is mostly met through groundwater, extracted from the shallow aquifers of the WR-2 watershed. However, over the years, excess withdrawal of groundwater from these aquifers has resulted in depletion of groundwater level. The declining trends of groundwater level, both long term and short term, have had a negative impact on the groundwater quality of the study area. This effect can be gauged through the rising electrical conductivity (EC) of groundwater in the shallow aquifers (dug wells) of the WR-2 watershed. It is observed that the long term declining trend of groundwater level, during 1977–2010, varied from 0.03 to 0.04 m per year, whereas the corresponding trend of rising EC varied from 1.90 to 2.94 𝜇S/cm per year. During 2007–2010, about 56% dug wells showed a positive correlation between depleting groundwater level and rising EC values. The groundwater level depletion during this period ranged from 0.03 to 0.67 m per year, whereas the corresponding trend of rising EC ranged from 0.52 to 46.91 𝜇S/cm per year. Moreover, the water quality studies reveal that groundwater from more than 50% of the dug wells of the WR-2 watershed is not suitable for drinking purpose. The groundwater, though mostly suitable for irrigation purpose, is corrosive and saturated with respect to mineral equilibrium and shows a tendency towards chemical scale formation.
Volume 131, 2022
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