A growing population accompanied by urbanization has increased groundwater resource demands in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) area, southern China, and a comprehensive understanding of the groundwater chemistry in the PRD is necessary. The aims of this study were to investigate the groundwater chemistry in various aquifers in the PRD on a regional scale and to discuss the factors that control the groundwater chemistries of different types of aquifers. In addition, the effect of the expansion of construction land on the groundwater chemistry was also taken into consideration in this study. Nearly 400 groundwater samples were collected and fourteen chemical parameters were investigated. The results show that natural factors, such as seawater intrusions, are mainly responsible for the higher concentrations of total dissolved solids, Na+, Mg2+, K+, and Cl−, in granular aquifers than those in fissured and karst aquifers. Similarly, higher concentrations of NH4+, Fe and Mn in granular aquifers than those in the other two types of aquifers are mainly ascribed to natural reduction. In contrast, human activities, such as the continuous irrigation of river water, upon granular aquifer are mainly responsible for the higher concentrations of Ca2+ and HCO3− in granular aquifers than those in other two types of aquifers. Urbanization and industrialization are the main driving forces for the frequently occurrences of NO3 and SO4 water types, respectively. Moreover, the number of water types in the PRD increased to 89 after the decades of urbanization. Factors that control groundwater chemistries in various aquifers were extracted. A four-factor model controlled the groundwater chemistry of granular aquifers, while two three-factor models controlled the groundwater chemistries of fissured and karst aquifers, respectively. The results of this study show that the expansion of construction land is a powerful driving force for the change of groundwater chemistry in the PRD.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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