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Security of deep groundwater against arsenic contamination in the Bengal Aquifer System: a numerical modeling study in southeast Bangladesh

Shamsudduha, M; Zahid, A; Burgess, WG; (2019) Security of deep groundwater against arsenic contamination in the Bengal Aquifer System: a numerical modeling study in southeast Bangladesh. Sustainable Water Resources Management , 5 (3) pp. 1073-1087. 10.1007/s40899-018-0275-z. Green open access

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Abstract

Across the floodplains of southern Bangladesh deep (> 150 m belowground level, bgl) groundwater within the Bengal Aquifer System (BAS) has become widely used for domestic water supply as a de facto mitigation response to the presence of excessive arsenic (As), exceeding the World Health Organization standard of 10 µg L⁻¹, in shallow groundwater. Over the past 10 years, many hand-pumped tube wells and high-capacity municipal water-supply wells have been installed at this depth and at deeper regions of the BAS, which are almost uniformly free of excessive As. Concern for the security of the deep groundwater resource against possible invasion of As and saline water from shallow depths emphasizes the need for comparative assessments of groundwater abstraction strategies to guide water resource managers and policy makers. To this end, particle-tracking post-processing has been applied within a numerical groundwater flow model for an area of over 10,000 km² in southeastern Bangladesh, one of the regions where the As issue is most acute. Criteria for describing the security of deep groundwater abstraction strategies over a 100-year time frame have been applied to the model outcomes for a range of scenarios. Our analyses suggest that deep groundwater will remain secure against invasion of As across the entire region if it is restricted to domestic use, even under domestic demand projected for 2050. Our approach can be applied in other regions and in similar Asian mega-deltas where As contamination of groundwater is recognized as a grave concern for sustainable water resources development.

Type: Article
Title: Security of deep groundwater against arsenic contamination in the Bengal Aquifer System: a numerical modeling study in southeast Bangladesh
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s40899-018-0275-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40899-018-0275-z
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Water supply, Vulnerability, Groundwater modeling, Particle tracking, Bangladesh
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056687
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