Groundwater quality determination regarding major anions and cations (Case study of an aquifer in the Lut Desert, Iran)

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Graduate faculty of environment, University of Tehran, Iran

2 School of civil engineering, University of science and technology, Tehran, Iran



Groundwater quality regarding major anions and cations in the Birjand Plain located in the largest desert in Eastern Iran was monitored in this study. Fifteen boreholes were considered as sampling stations and the parameters pH, TDS, EC and major anions and cations were measured in groundwater samples. The dominant groundwater types can be introduced as sodium-chloride and magnesium-sulphate. The majority of samples were within the not-suitable category for drinking uses. Regarding agricultural use, around 80 and 50 per cent of samples indicated a very high salinity hazard and a very high sodium alkali hazard, respectively. Spatial distribution of salinity was also monitored within the study area. If the study area was considered to be a semicircle, the centre appeared to be the least polluted area, while towards the peripheral surroundings, an increasing behaviour was observed. Intrusion of salt water from eastern and western parts of the study area caused severe groundwater degradation. The relatively better quality of groundwater in southern areas may be attributed to a chain of mountains located along south of the study area. The prevention of uncontrolled groundwater withdrawal must be regarded to cease the salinization trend and to prepare the required infrastructure for implementing the artificial recharge projects.