Nitrate-leaching and groundwater vulnerability mapping in North Bihar, India

Abstract

Aquifer vulnerability assessment is crucial for studying the impact of increasing pollution load scenarios on the quantification of contaminant concentration with movement of plume for protecting groundwater resources. Only a few recent studies have focused on the performance evaluation of vulnerability assessment methods using process-based modeling approach. However, the moisture flow and pollutant transport through partially saturated zone plays a crucial role under varying hydrogeological conditions, which are generally ignored in index-based methods. Thus, the objective of this research is to evaluate the vulnerability of groundwater resources to nitrate in Samastipur, Darbhanga and Madhubani districts of Bihar State, India, using soil moisture flow and solute transport modeling. Richard’s equation integrated with the classical advection dispersion equation is simulated using HYDRUS 1D by incorporating a constant head and atmospheric boundary conditions. The time taken to reach the nitrate peak concentration at groundwater table is considered to estimate vulnerability index (VI). Results have shown that high risk in terms of nitrate-leaching vulnerability in southern part of study area is dominated by Gangetic kankar in subsurface. Further, high pollution risk was reported in eastern north part of study area having alluvial deposition in subsurface. The main causes of high risk were due to the short depth of water table, little discharge and more hydraulic conductivity presence in the subsurface media. Moreover, comparatively low vulnerability was observed in area having clay capping of 2–4 m from surface. This research may help in better implementation of agricultural, soil–water conservation practices and urban/industrial infrastructure development in and around the study area.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

(Source: Google Image; locations are interpolated using GIS techniques)

Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Almasri MN, Kaluarachchi JJ (2007) Modeling nitrate contamination of groundwater in agricultural watersheds. J Hydrol 343(3–4):211–229

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. CGWB (2018) Groundwater data access: http://www.cgwb.gov.in/GW-data-access.html. 05–20 Feb 2018

  3. Chaudhuri S, Ale S, DeLaune P, Rajan N (2012) Spatio-temporal variability of groundwater nitrate concentration in Texas: 1960 to 2010. J Environ Qual 41(6):1806–1817

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Chitsazan M, Akhtari Y (2009) A GIS-based DRASTIC model for assessing aquifer vulnerability in Kherran Plain, Khuzestan, Iran. Water Resour Manag 23(6):1137–1155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. De Paz JM, Delgado JA, Ramos C, Shaffer MJ, Barbarick KK (2009) Use of a new GIS nitrogen index assessment tool for evaluation of nitrate leaching across a Mediterranean region. J Hydrol 365(3–4):183–194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dean JD, Huyakorn PS, Donigian AS Jr, Voos KA, Schanz RW, Meeks YJ, Carsel RF (1989) Risk of unsaturated/saturated transport and transformation of chemical concentrations (RUSTIC). Volumes I and II. EPA/600/3-89/048a. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Athens

  7. Enfield CG, Carsel RF, Cohen SZ, Phan T, Walters DM (1982) Approximating pollutant transport to ground water. Ground Water 20(6):711–722

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Evans BM, Myers WL (1990) A GIS-based approach to evaluating regional groundwater pollution potential with DRASTIC. J Soil Water Conserv 45(2):242–245

    Google Scholar 

  9. Fewtrell L (2004) Drinking-water nitrate, methemoglobinemia, and global burden of disease: a discussion. Environ Health Perspect 112(14):1371

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Gelhar LW, Welty C, Rehfeldt KR (1992) A critical review of data on field-scale dispersion in aquifers. Water Resour Res 28(7):1955–1974

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Ghosh A, Tiwari AK, Das S (2015) A GIS based DRASTIC model for assessing groundwater vulnerability of Katri Watershed, Dhanbad, India. Model Earth Syst Environ 1(3):11

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Gupta PK (2020a) Pollution load on Indian soil-water systems and associated health hazards: a review. J Environ Eng 146(5):03120004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Gupta PK (2020b) Fate, transport, and bioremediation of biodiesel and blended biodiesel in subsurface environment: a review. J Environ Eng 146(1):03119001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Gupta PK, Sharma D (2019) Assessment of hydrological and hydrochemical vulnerability of groundwater in semi-arid region of Rajasthan. India. Sustain Water Resour Manage 5(2):847–861

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Gupta PK, Yadav B (2020) Leakage of CO2 from geological storage and its impacts on fresh soil–water systems: a review. Environ Sci Pollu Res. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08203-7.1-24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gupta PK, Yadav B, Kumar A, Singh RP (2020) India’s major subsurface pollutants under future climatic scenarios: challenges and remedial solutions. In: Singh P, Singh RP, Srivastava VC (eds) Contemporary environmental issues and challenges in era of climate change. Springer, Singapore, pp 119–140

    Google Scholar 

  17. Harter T, Ginn TR, Onsoy YS, Horwath WR (2005) Spatial variability and transport of nitrate in a deep alluvial vadose zone. Vadose Zone J 4(2):443–454

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Huan H, Wang J, Teng Y (2012) Assessment and validation of groundwater vulnerability to nitrate based on a modified DRASTIC model: a case study in Jilin City of northeast China. Sci Total Environ 440:14–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Kazakis N, Voudouris KS (2015) Groundwater vulnerability and pollution risk assessment of porous aquifers to nitrate: modifying the DRASTIC method using quantitative parameters. J Hydrol 525:13–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kessavalou A, Doran JW, Powers WL, Kettler TA, Qian JH (1996) Bromide and nitrogen-15 tracers of nitrate leaching under irrigated corn in central Nebraska. J Environ Qual 25(5):1008–1014

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Kumar D, Adamowski J, Suresh R, Ozga-Zielinski B (2016) Estimating evapotranspiration using an extreme learning machine model: case study in north Bihar, India. J Irrig Drain Eng 142(9):04016032

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Kumari B, Gupta PK, Kumar D (2019) In-situ observation and nitrate-N load assessment in Madhubani District, Bihar, India. J Geol Soc India 93(1):113–118

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Machiwal et al (2018) A review of GIS-integrated statistical techniques for groundwater quality evaluation and protection. Environ Earth Sci 77:681

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Merchant JW (1994) GIS-based groundwater pollution hazard assessment: a critical review of the DRASTIC model. Photogram Eng Remote Sens 60:1117

    Google Scholar 

  25. Mondal NC, Adike S, Singh VS, Ahmed S, Jayakumar KV (2017) Determining shallow aquifer vulnerability by the DRASTIC model and hydrochemistry in granitic terrain, southern India. J Earth Syst Sci 126(6):89

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Mondal NC, Adike S, Raj PA, Singh VS, Ahmed S, Jayakumar KV (2018) Assessing aquifer vulnerability using GIS-based DRASTIC model coupling with hydrochemical parameters in hard rock area from Southern India. In: Singh VP, Yadav S, Yadava RN (eds) Groundwater. Springer, Singapore, pp 67–82

    Google Scholar 

  27. Mualem Y (1976) A new model for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated porous media. Water Resour Res 12(3):513–522

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Neshat A, Pradhan B (2017) Evaluation of groundwater vulnerability to pollution using DRASTIC framework and GIS. Arab J Geosci 10(22):501

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Pathak DR, Hiratsuka A, Awata I, Chen L (2009) Groundwater vulnerability assessment in shallow aquifer of Kathmandu Valley using GIS-based DRASTIC model. Environ Geol 57(7):1569–1578

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Rahman A (2008) A GIS based DRASTIC model for assessing groundwater vulnerability in shallow aquifer in Aligarh, India. Appl Geogr 28(1):32–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Rahmati O, Samani AN, Mahmoodi N, Mahdavi M (2015) Assessment of the contribution of N-fertilizers to nitrate pollution of groundwater in western Iran (Case Study: Ghorveh–Dehgelan Aquifer). Water Qual Expo Health 7(2):143–151

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Rao EP, Puttanna K, Sooryanarayana KR, Biswas AK, Arun Kumar JS (2017) Assessment of nitrate threat to water quality in India. In: Abrol YP et al (eds) The Indian nitrogen assessment. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 323–333

    Google Scholar 

  33. Šejna M, Šimůnek J (2007) HYDRUS (2D/3D): graphical user interface for the HYDRUS software package simulating two-and three-dimensional movement of water, heat, and multiple solutes in variably-saturated media. Available at https://www.pc-progress.cz (verified 20 Feb. 2008). PC-Progress, Prague, Czech Republic

  34. Sener E, Davraz A (2013) Assessment of groundwater vulnerability based on a modified DRASTIC model, GIS and an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method: the case of Egirdir Lake basin (Isparta, Turkey). Hydrogeol J 21(3):701–714

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Siyal AA, Bristow KL, Šimůnek J (2012) Minimizing nitrogen leaching from furrow irrigation through novel fertilizer placement and soil surface management strategies. Agric Water Manag 115:242–251

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Spalding RF, Exner ME (1993) Occurrence of nitrate in groundwater—a review. J Environ Qual 22(3):392–402

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Steenhuis TS, Pacenka S, Porter KS (1987) MOUSE: a management model for evaluation ground water contamination from diffuse surface sources aided by computer graphics. Appl Agric Res 2:277–289

    Google Scholar 

  38. Stuart ME, Gooddy DC, Bloomfield JP, Williams AT (2011) A review of the impact of climate change on future nitrate concentrations in groundwater of the UK. Sci Total Environ 409(15):2859–2873

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Tiwari AK, De Maio M, Singh PK, Singh AK (2016a) Hydrogeochemical characterization and groundwater quality assessment in a coal mining area, India. Arab J Geosci 9(3):177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Tiwari AK, Singh PK, De Maio M (2016b) Evaluation of aquifer vulnerability in a coal mining of India by using GIS-based DRASTIC model. Arab J Geosci 9(6):438

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Tiwari AK, Singh AK, Mahato MK (2017) GIS based evaluation of fluoride contamination and assessment of fluoride exposure dose in groundwater of a district in Uttar Pradesh, India. Hum Ecol Risk Assess Int J 23(1):56–66

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. van Genuchten MT (1980) A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 44(5):892–898

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Yadav BK, Junaid SM (2013) Groundwater vulnerability assessment to contamination using soil moisture flow and solute transport modeling. J Irrig Drain Eng 141(7):04014077

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Yin L, Zhang E, Wang X, Wenninger J, Dong J, Guo L, Huang J (2013) A GIS-based DRASTIC model for assessing groundwater vulnerability in the Ordos Plateau, China. Environ Earth Sci 69(1):171–185

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Zhu A, Zhang J, Zhao B, Cheng Z, Li L (2005) Water balance and nitrate leaching losses under intensive crop production with Ochric Aquic Cambosols in North China Plain. Environ Int 31(6):904–912

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Authors are thankful to Central Groundwater Board (CGWB), participating local gram panchayats and district authorities for providing required data and helps during field investigations.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pankaj Kumar Gupta.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gupta, P.K., Kumari, B., Gupta, S.K. et al. Nitrate-leaching and groundwater vulnerability mapping in North Bihar, India. Sustain. Water Resour. Manag. 6, 48 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40899-020-00405-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Vadose zone
  • Groundwater resource
  • Pollution
  • Nitrate
  • Vulnerability
  • Clay capping