An assessment of groundwater quality using water quality index in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date: April-June 2012
From: Chronicles of Young Scientists(Vol. 3, Issue 2)
Publisher: Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,815 words
Lexile Measure: 1700L

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Byline: I. Balan, M. Shivakumar, P. Madan Kumar

Context : Water, the elixir of life, is a prime natural resource. Due to rapid urbanization in India, the availability and quality of groundwater have been affected. According to the Central Groundwater Board, 80% of Chennai's groundwater has been depleted and any further exploration could lead to salt water ingression. Hence, this study was done to assess the groundwater quality in Chennai city. Aim : To assess the groundwater quality using water quality index in Chennai city. Materials and Methods: Chennai city was divided into three zones based on the legislative constituency and from these three zones three locations were randomly selected and nine groundwater samples were collected and analyzed for physiochemical properties. Results: With the exception of few parameters, most of the water quality assessment parameters showed parameters within the accepted standard values of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Except for pH in a single location of zone 1, none of the parameters exceeded the permissible values for water quality assessment as prescribed by the BIS. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that in general the groundwater quality status of Chennai city ranged from excellent to good and the groundwater is fit for human consumption based on all the nine parameters of water quality index and fluoride content.


Water, the elixir of life, is a prime natural resource, a basic human need, and a precious national asset. The three major sources of water are rain, surface water, and groundwater. Rain water percolating into ground constitutes the groundwater. Groundwater is superior to surface water because of the effective filtering effect. It is the cheapest and most practical means of providing water to communities. [sup][1]

The total annual replenishable groundwater resources in India have been assessed as 433 billion cubic meters (BCM) and the net annual groundwater availability is estimated as 399 BCM. Existing gross groundwater draft as on March 2004 for all uses is 231 BCM per year. [sup][2]

Rapid urbanization, especially in developing countries such as India, has affected the availability and quality of groundwater due to its exploitation. Once the groundwater is contaminated, its quality cannot be restored by stopping the pollutants from the source. [sup][3] The common pollutants of groundwater are discharge of agricultural, domestic, and industrial waste, pesticides, etc. which leads to water-borne diseases. Water-borne diseases may be of microbial origin such as diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, and typhoid and chemical origin such as fluorosis and methemoglobinemia. Therefore, in order to have an idea about the quality of the consuming water, it is necessary to monitor its quality and to device ways and means to protect it.

Chennai is one of the four metropolitan cities in India. In 1960, the population of Chennai was 15 lakhs. In the last four decades, its population has raised to 7.6 million (2010). [sup][4] With the increased number of buildings within the city and the ever-increasing growth of the city, the open land available for water retention has gone down drastically. Chennai is highly...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A298340112