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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 68-71

Salinity variation in Kashan plain groundwater resources

1 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Social Determinants of Health Research Centre, Health School, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran
2 Department of Civil Engineering, Marvdasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Marvdasht, Iran

Date of Web Publication5-Sep-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Davarkhah Rabbani
Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Social Determinants of Health Research Centre, Health School, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iahs.iahs_6_18

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Aims: The trend of withdrawal from groundwater resources in Kashan plain has been increased during the recent 40 years. For example, the number of deep wells has been increased from 67 in 1965 to 927 in 2003. As a result, the well discharges and water quality have been diminishing. Hence, this research was aimed to study the salinity variation modeling in Kashan plain groundwater resource. Materials and Methods: This descriptive research was done based on recorded data for some wells in Kashan plain. First, the data from 112 wells were considered then, 16 wells with more complete data were selected for analysis. Total dissolved solids (TDSs) were considered as the salinity index. Results: The results showed that, in Kashan plain, the mean of salinity has been increased from 1190 mg/L to more than 1400 mg/L during 7 years. Although the salinity has been somewhat less after each annual precipitation, the trend is upward. Minimum and maximum of TDS were identified taken samples from wells number 27 and 47, respectively. Maximum rate of salinity was found in wells number 53 and 55, while the minimum was related to well number 54. Conclusions: The groundwater salinity in Kashan plain has an upward trend. The groundwater salinity can be related to some major factors such as distance from Salt Lake, less annual precipitation, and more withdrawal from the aquifer in the recent decades. Since the later can be managed withdrawal, especially for agricultural activities have to be minimized as the most effective way for prevention of the groundwater quality degradation.

Keywords: Groundwater, Kashan, salinity, total dissolved solids

How to cite this article:
Rabbani D, Fattahi MH, Mazroii N, Dehghani R. Salinity variation in Kashan plain groundwater resources. Int Arch Health Sci 2018;5:68-71

How to cite this URL:
Rabbani D, Fattahi MH, Mazroii N, Dehghani R. Salinity variation in Kashan plain groundwater resources. Int Arch Health Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Feb 1];5:68-71. Available from: http://www.iahs.kaums.ac.ir/text.asp?2018/5/3/68/240631

  Introduction Top

Groundwater is the main source of water supply for drinking and agricultural use, especially in arid and semi-arid regions.[1] Although in Iran, the groundwater ratio is about 30% of all resources currently, the withdrawal from groundwater resource is more than 50%.[2],[3] On the other hand, the population growth, urbanization, industrialization, and agriculture development led to more water demand, especially in the arid and tropical regions. Since the groundwater resource is the main source of water supply in Kashan plain since the 40 past years. The withdrawal from groundwater tables in the plain has been intensified, and the number of certified deep wells has been increased from 67 wells in 1965 to 924 in 2003.[4] During recent centuries, all over the world, especially in the Third World countries, water quality has been degraded due to natural processes and human activities, and recently the fresh water sources are threatened by the phenomenon of salinity.[5],[6] The gradual increase in the salinity of under exploitation groundwater is a serious beginning for land salinity and degradation.[7],[8] According to geographical location, Iran is ranked as fifth arid and semi-arid climate in Asia.[8] In recent years, the drop in wells' water level in the most plain areas has been detected by exploiters such as farmers or experts in urban and rural water and wastewater companies, and it concluded that the quality of water resources has been affected by intensified withdrawals.[9] The progression of saline groundwater to freshwater tables is one of the serious threats to these valuable resources.[10],[11],[12] This phenomenon occurs due to excessive withdrawal of fresh groundwater and leads to the pressure imbalance between fresh and saline water, causing annual damage to fresh groundwater resources.[13],[14],[15],[16]

Torabi study (1999) on Kashan plain groundwater showed that the average subsidence of the water table has been about 16 m during 1965–1997 and the average electrical conductivity increased from 3.4 to 6.9 ds/m.[17]

The study of Valipoor et al. (2008) on Shams-Abad in Qom Province shows that, during the past 47 years, the agricultural lands' area in the region has been increased by about 9.5 times, which has been led to an increase of groundwater consumption and dropping of water level also, increasing groundwater salinity.[18] A case study of Kashan plain by Ghazavi et al. (2015) shows that water quality in the most parts of the plain is not suitable for drinking, and based on Papier diagram, water type is NaCl.[19] Miranzadeh et al. in their study on quality of drinking water in villages of Kashan claimed that the most important causes for increasing salinity of the water resources in the region are dipping the wells' violations of permitted discharge, as well as too much pumping from deep wells.[20] In another report, Mirzavand et al. declared that the amount of EC is increased along the pathway of groundwater flow from supply areas to the desert outline.[21] Rise of Electrical-Conductivity of water samples in 1994 has been related to the more backflow of saline water to the fresh water table, while before 1983, the groundwater flow was toward the desert.[17],[22] Land subsidence is a phenomenon which occurs due to several natural geological factors or human activity such as excessive withdrawal from aquifers. Physical and chemical properties of groundwater are not constant, and changing over time and place. On the other hand, the proper management of groundwater resources, both quantitatively and qualitatively, requires a good understanding of the local and temporal changes in the water level and salinity of groundwater. Hence, update data are required to good manage of resources.[23],[24],[25],[26],[27]

Considering the excessive bring out of groundwater in Kashan plain, further studies on the quality changes are particularly required in terms of salinity. Therefore, in this research, salinity changes in groundwater of Kashan plain were studied.

  Materials and Methods Top

The study area

Kashan plain which situated in south of Salt Lake in the center of Iran is an important natural and economical area in Isfahan province. Its altitude is averagely about 970 m. It is classified as arid and warm climate. In this plain, the annual precipitation is <130 mm, while the annual potential evaporation is 2700 mm. Kashan and Aran-Bidgol cities have been located in this plain. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people from the past. Textile, carpet, automotive, and metals industries have been established in the recent decades, due to the increasing population, water demand has been increased sharply. Arid climate, low precipitation, high potential evaporation as well as increasing water demand because population growth, agricultural and industrial development, have been led to the groundwater table decline and diminished water quality in this plain.

Research method


This research is a descriptive study which has been performed using data from 2006 to 2013 regarding the water quality of some wells in Kashan plain. In this research, the data of 112 wells were received from Kashan Water and Wastewater Company. Only the data of 16 wells were available in a complete and regular form that was analyzed.

In this work, variation of Total Dissolved Solids (TDSs) has been considered as an important indicator of water salinity variation. The position of the wells is shown in [Map 1].

  Results Top

The results show that the total amount of dissolved solids in the 16 well water samples has been increasing so that the average value of dissolved solids in these wells during the 8 years has been increased from 1190 mg/L to more than 1400 mg/L [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Average salinity of wells' water in Kashan plain in comparison with average annual precipitation during 2006–2013

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[Figure 1] shows that subsequent of the increase in annually precipitation, the salinity of well water ' is reduced. However, an ascending trend is observed in the mean of salinity over the time [Figure 2]. According to the given data, among the under research wells, the well No. 27 showed the lowest salinity and the well No. 47 the highest.
Figure 2: Changes in the average salinity of studied wells' water in Kashan plain during 2006–2013

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While the highest ratios of salinization were detected in wells No. 53 and 55, the lowest ratio of increasing dissolved solids was in the well No. 54 [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5].
Figure 3: Changes in water salinity in several wells in Kashan plain during 2006–2013

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Figure 4: Changes in water salinity in several wells in Kashan plain during 2006–2013

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Figure 5: Changes in water salinity in several wells in Kashan plain during 2006–2013

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  Discussion Top

Study of groundwater salinity in Kashan plain indicates that salinization of the water is ascending all the time. Furthermore, salinity increasing is reckonable almost in all over the plain. On the other hand, according to [Figure 1], with increasing precipitation in 2012 and 2013, the salinity of the groundwater resources has been reduced to some extent. Notice to location of the wells shows that as we move toward the Salt Lake, the average salinity of the water increases too. These results are in compatible with the studies of Valipor and Miranzadeh.[18],[21]

Recently, in many parts of Iran, groundwater salinity has been increased in parallel to groundwater level drop resulted from more withdrawal from water tables, for example, Abadeh et al. study in Ziyadabad district, Sirjan in east south of Iran achieved similar results in agreement with our findings.[28]

According to Huang et al. study in a coastal aquifer, in addition to the geological characteristics of the aquifer and precipitation, the amount of groundwater exploitation affects its salinity.[29]

A reverse relationship with low correlation coefficient has been found between annual precipitation and salinity level in groundwater which is compatible with our findings.[30],[31],[32] The trend of groundwater salinization in north of Kashan plain was investigated by Torabi. He declared that the average electrical conductivity of groundwater had been increased from about 1350 to 6930 mmhos/cm, during 1965–1997 and the land subsidence stated about 13 m for the same period.[17] Furthermore, our finding is well-matched to Karami et al. study in 2011 on water salinity changes in Sarab plain. They stated that groundwater salinity level in Sarab plain has been increased during a 10-year period. The minimum salinity has been stated for foothills surrounding the plain while the salinity increased toward the center and the west of the plain.[33] In addition to prolonged drought, excessive withdrawal and proximity to the Salt Lake that contribute to changes in the salinity of groundwater in Kashan plain different geological formations has been caused some spatial variations too.

Land subsidence has been acquired in Kashan plain as like many other plains of Iran which is one of the most harmful effects of excessive consumption of groundwater.[23],[24],[25]

  Conclusions Top

Our study showed that groundwater salinization in Kashan plain has an upward trend which can relate to more withdrawal from the water table in the recent decades. Since it can lead to numerous socioeconomical and economical crises, it seems that reducing of water demand is the best way to prevent the salinization of groundwater in this plain. Because the main consumer of groundwater in the plain is agricultural activities, water demand management in the agricultural sector has become a priority.


The authors are grateful to Kashan Water and Wastewater Company for data supply.

Financial support and sponsorship

This work was supported by Marvdasht Branch, Islamic Azad University. This paper has been extracted from the results of dissertation NO: 48140402902020.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]

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