Limnochemistry Of Three Freshwater Springs Biology Essay

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The present investigation was carried out during 2005-2006 on three limnocrene freshwater springs located in single groundwater area in Kokergund (Yaripora) of District Kulgam, Kashmir. A perusal of the data showed that these springs were hard water type with slightly lower values of DO (1.2-6.4mg/L). The ionic composition of the spring waters revealed the predominance of bicarbonate and calcium over the other ions with usual ionic progression as HCO3- >Ca++ >Mg++ >Na+ >K+. None of the parameters studied floated the standards set by W.H.O. for drinking water quality. However, relatively higher values of NO3-N (2500-3900µg/L), but well within the permissible limits of W.H.O., were observed in the present study. The dissolved silica did not show any temporal variation between the different months but exhibited slight spatial variations (17.8-21mg/L).

Traditionally, springs have been considered as old, uniform, isolated and fairly constant aquatic systems promoting speciation processes in a variety of taxonomic groups(Nielsen, 1950,1951;Hubbs, 1961). From a physico-chemical point of view, Roca(1990) classified more than two hundred Pyrenean springs into several typological categories, showing the relation between spring features and underlying lithology,but also stressing the individual characteristics that springs developed independently of the geology of the area. Water, one of the basic requirements for life, is scarcely available in the most of the towns located on hill tops. People in the valleys are facing acute shortage of drinking water and the rivers flowing in the deep valleys can provide water only through pumping which entails appreciable costs. Under these conditions, springs yield a cost-effective solution to the water problem. The importance of natural springs as a source of drinking water in high altitude regions of the Himalaya is well documented (Singh and Pande, 1989). In the past, natural springs were the only source of drinking water and even now the spring water is consumed by the surrounding population irrespective of its quality because the ever-increasing demand is hard to fulfill through public water supply schemes on account of the decreasing water discharge. Therefore, the water of springs, though under immense pressure, are still in vogue and fulfill over 45% of the demand of rural inhabitants. The springs can be considered as representative of ground water (Magaritz et al., 1990) and chemical composition of these water bodies varies with geological formation (Drever, 1982).

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The vale of Kashmir once known for its vast array of springs with sparkling waters is losing many of these not only in size and number but are deteriorating in water quality. Ecological and anthropogenic factors, however, induce some changes in its quality (Mahajan, 1989). Moreover, our knowledge of spring ecosystems in Kashmir valley is very little and only few preliminary reports on spring ecology are available (Qadri and Yousuf, 1979; Rashid, 1982; Yousuf et al., 1983; Bhat and Yousuf, 2002; Latief et al., 2003; Pandit et al., 2001, 2002, 2005a &b, 2007). It is in this backdrop, baseline data on water quality of three limnocrene springs in Kashmir Himalaya was carried out.

Study Area

The three springs namely Nagrad, Tumbernag and Khudanag in village Kokergund Yaripora fall within the geocordinates 33°.44´N latitude and 075°.01´ E longitude. All the three springs are of alluvial type, with mean annual discharge of 0.401 L/s, 0.17 L/s and 0.299 L/s respectively falling in sixth order classification of (Meinzer, 1923) based on discharge (Table 1). The immediate catchments of these springs are settlements with a population of about 1100 people in this village. The catchment outside the settlements is comprised of both agriculture and horticulture. Land utilization in the catchment has changed significantly over the years due to conversion of agriculture into horticulture because of droughts/ water shortages and also settlements as a result of population increase.

Material and Methods

Three limnocrene freshwater springs namely Nagrad, Tumbernag and Khudanag were chosen for detailed study during 2005-2006. The parameters like pH, conductivity were measured with digital pH metre and conductivity metre respectively while DO was estimated by Winkler's titration method. The parameters Cl, alkalinity and hardness were measured by tittrimetry methods while nitrogen, phosphorus, silica, sulphate and sodium and potassium were analyzed by spectrophotometric and flame photometric methods respectively (Golterman and Clymo, 1969; APHA, 1998; and Wetzel and Likens, 2000). Geocordinates and elevation were determined with GPS. Statistical analysis was conducted using multivariate statistical package programme version no. 12.

Table1.General characteristics of three limnocrene freshwater springs in Kokergund Yaripora, Kulgam

Parameter

NAGRAD

TUMBERNAG

KHUDANAG

1

Altitude m(a.s.l)

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1,665m

1,667m

1,667m

2

Lat. &Long.

33°44´N;075°.01´E

33°44´N;075°.01´E

33°44´N;075°.01´E

3

Mean annual discharge L/s

0.401

0.172

0.299

4

Spring order

6

6

6

5

Spring type I.(Meinzer,1923) (a) Hydraulic characteristics

Gravity-Contact type

Gravity-Contact type

Gravity-Contact type

(b)Topography

Pool type

Pool type

Pool type

(c)Permanence

Perennial

Perennial

Perennial

(d)Character of opening

Filtration type

Filtration type

Filtration type

Spring type II. Thieneman (1924)

Limnocrene

Limnocrene

Limnocrene

6

Spring area(1-5)*

3

1

2

7

Naturalness(0-3)**

2

2

2

8

Substrate composition

pebble,gravel, Sand,and less organic matter

gravel with Less sand

gravel, sand, Mud, and organic matter

*Classes of spring area are: 1=<5m2, 2= 5-10m2, 3= 10-20m2, 4=20-40m2 and 5= 40-100m2

**Spring naturalness is:

1 = severe pressure/ damage from humans in spring or vicinity.

2 = minor pressure/ damage in or near the spring.

3 = almost or totally undisturbed spring in its surrounding.

Results and Discussion

The data obtained for different hydrochemical parameters are presented in Tables1-4. The pH of the investigated springs varied between 7-7.16 throughout the sampling period. These values of

Table 2. Limnochemistry of Nagrad freshwater spring 2005-2006

Month

May

Jun.

Jul.

Aug.

Sep.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

Mean

SD

pH

7.09

7

7.16

7.16

7.02

7

7.08

7.06

7.14

7.13

7.09

7.1

7.09

0.06

Conductivity (µs/cm)

551

517

494

561

519

476

488

520

527

540

556

508

521.42

27.22

DO (mg/L)

4.8

6.4

6.4

3.2

5.6

5.6

4.8

6.4

6.4

5.6

6.4

6.4

5.67

0.99

Cl(mg/L)

14

30

38

24

30

27

23

21

22

20

23

21

24.42

6.14

Alkalinity(mg/L)

130

160

144

140

128

132

128

126

134

124

130

128

133.67

10.08

T.H(mg/L)

280

240

244

320

220

260

240

220

200

260

220

220

243.67

32.83

C.H(mg/L)

254

230

231

287

200

214

210

168

178

220

174

189

212.92

34.83

Mg .H(mg/L)

26

10

13

33

20

46

30

52

22

40

46

31

30.75

13.38

Ca++(mg/L)

101

92

92.4

114

100

85.6

84

67.2

71.2

87.99

70.4

75.6

86.78

14.16

Mg++(mg/L)

6.31

2.43

3.15

8.01

4.86

11.2

7.29

12.6

5.34

9.72

11.17

7.53

7.47

3.25

Sodium(mg/L)

7.5

4

5

3

10

12.6

8.5

10.5

11

8.2

12.5

10.5

8.61

3.21

Potassium(mg/L)

5

1

2

0

1.25

2.7

1.5

3

2.5

2.5

4

3.5

2.41

1.38

Nitrate-N (µg/L)

2800

3900

3810

3660

3640

3110

3270

3800

3900

3800

3580

3720

3582.50

345.02

Ammonia(µg/L)

43

356

250

480

285

10

120

135

100

60

125

28

166.00

146.09

Orthophosphor-us(µg/L)

48

26

77

34

75

44

76

51

68

64

65

76

58.67

17.64

Total Phosph- orus(µg/L)

180

180

300

450

580

560

440

545

475

490

415

440

421.25

134.86

Sulfate(mg/L)

1.8

5.6

5.6

9.8

12

11.3

7.8

7

6.6

9.5

9.9

7.8

7.89

2.84

Silicate(mg/L)

21

16.2

15.6

17.3

16

15.2

16.5

17

16.8

16.2

15.8

17.5

16.76

1.50

Table 3. Limnochemistry of Tumbernag freshwater spring 2005-2006

Month

May

Jun.

Jul.

Aug.

Sep.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

Mean

SD

pH

7.08

7.1

7.12

7.16

7.1

7.09

7.1

7.08

7.09

7.1

7.12

7.144

7.11

0.02

Conductivity (µs/cm)

449

445

430

444

460

435

460

470

438

444

485

465

452.08

16.14

DO (mg/L)

4.8

4.2

3.6

3.4

1.2

3.8

3.8

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4

4.2

3.8

3.8

3.6

3.68

0.86

Cl(mg/L)

19

20

22

23

24

18

18

19

18

19

20

21

20.08

2.02

Alkalinity(mg/L)

240

320

360

240

320

280

300

260

240

260

280

300

283.33

37.98

T.H(mg/L)

220

240

220

240

260

240

220

200

240

220

210

230

228.33

16.42

C.H(mg/L)

168

210

189

207

210

168

168

130

210

150

150

136

174.67

29.90

Mg .H(mg/L)

52

30

31

33

50

72

52

70

30

70

60

94

53.67

20.49

Ca++(mg/L)

67.2

84

75.6

82.8

84

67.2

67.2

52

84

60

60

54.4

69.87

11.96

Mg++(mg/L)

12.6

7.29

7.53

8.01

12.15

17.5

12.63

17

7.29

17.01

14.58

22.84

13.04

4.98

Sodium(mg/L)

6

5

8

5

14

12

10

9

8

10

6

6

8.25

2.86

Potassium(mg/L)

2

1

3

0

1

4

2

1

3

1

0.8

0.5

1.61

1.20

Nitrate-N (µg/L)

3610

2500

3690

3660

3270

3610

3310

3655

3665

3620

3200

3220

3417.50

347.36

Ammonia(µg/L)

576

200

420

300

183

330

285

580

187

170

332

168

310.92

147.86

Orthophosphor-us(µg/L)

37

34

14

19

67

44

67

46

48

66

51

41

44.50

17.30

Total Phosph- orus(µg/L)

460

412

490

475

150

450

450

440

435

435

455

395

420.58

88.93

Sulfate(mg/L)

2.6

3.8

1.6

3

1

1.8

1.6

3.2

1.7

5.2

2.8

2.7

2.58

1.16

Silicate(mg/L)

15.8

16.6

15.9

15.6

15.5

16.5

16

16.8

17.8

16.3

17

18.1

16.49

0.83

Table 4. Limnochemistry of Khudanag freshwater spring 2005-2006

Month

May

Jun.

Jul.

Aug.

Sep.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

Mean

SD

pH

7.14

7.06

7.07

7.13

7.04

7.1

7.15

7.12

7.13

7.16

7.08

7.1

7.11

0.04

Conductivity (µs/cm)

439

426

411

496

465

426

470

480

486

478

465

455

458.08

26.94

DO (mg/L)

4

4.2

4

4

3.2

3.8

3.8

3.6

4

4.2

4

3.8

3.88

0.28

Cl(mg/L)

24

26

39

29

27

21

23

22

21

26

24

23

25.42

4.93

Alkalinity(mg/L)

140

140

144

124

120

140

144

136

150

138

174

138

140.67

13.36

T.H(mg/L)

240

260

244

270

220

240

240

230

270

230

250

230

243.67

16.11

C.H(mg/L)

210

231

231

231

210

199

185

145

165

195

190

149

195.08

30.14

Mg .H(mg/L)

30

29

13

39

10

51

65

85

105

35

60

81

50.25

29.68

Ca++(mg/L)

84

92.4

92.4

92.4

84

75.6

74

58

66

78

76

59.6

77.70

12.07

Mg++(mg/L)

7.29

7.04

3.15

9.47

2.43

12.4

15.79

20.7

25.5

8.5

14.58

19.68

12.21

7.21

Sodium(mg/L)

8

12

22

2

16

12

8

10

15

9

8

12

11.17

5.02

Potassium(mg/L)

2

2

4

1

0.5

2

2

3

4

1

1

2

2.04

1.14

Nitrate-N (µg/L)

3720

3790

3750

3300

3780

3660

3760

3690

3300

3675

3810

3830

3672.08

181.65

Ammonia(µg/L)

188

300

340

175

255

317

177

120

175

200

285

305

236.42

71.97

Orthophosphor-us(µg/L)

29

26

24

20

59

28

48

51

34

26

48

61

37.83

14.60

Total Phosph- orus(µg/L)

475

450

270

425

440

430

470

435

460

460

480

495

440.83

57.91

Sulfate(mg/L)

1.7

1.8

1

3

1

1.8

1.2

1

1

2.9

2.8

1.7

1.74

0.77

Silicate(mg/L)

15.9

15.6

15.3

16.2

15.3

15.9

15.8

15.2

15.3

15.8

16

15.9

15.68

0.33

pH are in consonance with the findings of Afroz et al. (1986) who reported the pH in the 24 springs of Imamganj (U.P.) in the range of 7.3- 8.0.No significant changes were observed in water pH during the different seasons and it was found well within the desirable limits (6.0-8.0) for drinking water as specified in the guidelines of the World Health Organization (Fresenius et al., 1988).

The electrical conductivity of the springs exhibit a variation within the range of 411-556µs/cm.The electric conductivity values does not show any significant variation during the seasons. The relatively higher values of conductivity in these springs, in general, may be due to contamination from domestic sewage and inorganic fertilizer inputs. Similar results have been reported by Kumar et al. (1996).

The DO in the studied springs during the monitoring period revealed a variation within the range of 1.2 -6.4 mg/L. The seasonal trend is not much pronounced but slightly low concentration of DO during August and September may be attributed to slightly increase in water temperature. Similar observations have also been observed in springs of Almora town by Kumar et al. (1996).

The chloride concentration of spring water showed a fluctuation of 14 mg/L to 39mg/L throughout the sampling period. The mean annual values for chloride concentration in three springs varied between 20.08 and 25.42 mg/L.This small variation in the chloride indicates the same recharge zone and source of impurities that add the chlorides to the groundwater. Seasonal variation in chloride in slightly significant as higher values of chloride was found in July because of more cultural activities in the immediate catchment during the summer.

The bicarbonate alkalinity for the three springs ranged between 120 and 360 mg/L while the mean annual values fluctuated from 133.67 to 283.33 mg/L. The alkalinity does not show any specific seasonal trend. However, the assimilation of carbon dioxide from rain water and the lacustrine origin of the valley may be the probable cause of increasing HCO3- concentration (Wadia, 1961).

The hardness values fluctuated between 200 and 320 mg/L, thereby indicating hard water nature of the springs (Moyle, 1945).The mean annual values ranged between 228 and 243mg/L, being highest in Nagrad and Khudanag and lowest in Tumbernag (Tables 1-3).The hardness directly seems related to the source of Ca++and Mg++ which owes its origin to the lacustrine deposits in the valley (Wadia, 1961).

Calcium and magnesium accounted for most of the hardness. The spring water depicted the ranges of 52-114 mg/L for calcium, 2.43-25.51mg/L for magnesium, 3-22mg/L sodium, and 0.5-4 mg/L potassium. In general, the ionic composition of the spring waters revealed the predominance of bicarbonate and calcium over the other ions and , therefore, the usual ionic progression was: HCO3- > Ca++ >Mg++ >Na++ >K+ which brings it close to the well known sequence for global freshwaters(Rhode, 1969). However, relatively higher values of sodium were found in these springs, which may be attributed to domestic sewage, being discharged directly into the immediate catchment of these springs, a fact also revealed by Sharma et al. (1999).

The NO3-N and NH3-N varied between 2500-3900µg/L and 10-580 µg/L respectively throughout the study period. NO3-N is an important drinking water standard and its higher concentration is fatal for infants(Steel and Mc Ghee,1984).The WHO standards prescribe 10ppm as maximum permissible nitrate concentration for potable water(Fresinius et al., 1988).However, the spring waters studied fall within permissible limit. Relatively the higher concentration of nitrogen compounds may be due to domestic sewage(Voznaya,1981; Suzukie et al., 1992; and Chhathawal et al.,1989) which enter into groundwater through leaching from soil.The nitrate values indicate the influence of agriculture activities due to the application of urea as a major inorganic fertilizer.Presence of ammonia in water indicates pollution of recent origin as a result of ammonification where as nitrates in water suggests that some time has already elapsed during which nitrification has taken place and the water has got purified itself to some extent.The NO3-N is considered to be highest oxidized form of nitrogen in water and wastewater(Metcalf and Eddy, 1979).

The ortho-phosphate phosphorus concentration fluctuated between 20 and 77μg/L, highest being recorded in summer and lowest during autumn. However, the total phosphorus ranged between 150 and 580 μg/L with highest in autumn and lowest in summer. Among the three springsNagrad spring exhibited peak levels of total phosphorus (580 μg/L) during autumn season. The mean values of orthophosphorus and total phosphorus for the spring were in the range of 37.83-58.67 μg/L and 420.58-440.83 μg/L respectively which are higher than the values (OPP; 7-44 μg/L; TP; 45-107 μg/L) recorded in Irish Karst springs by Kilroy and Coxon (2005). Total phosphorus upto 1,814 μg/L due to local pollution (silage clamp) located upgradient of these springs has also been reported. Phosphorus has been overlooked primarily because the maximum admissible concentration (5000 μg/L P2O5)for drinking waters under the directive on water intended for human consumption (CEC, 1980) is rarely approached except in areas of gross localized contamination.The revised directive on water intended for human consumption according to CEC( 1998) does not contain any limit for phosphorus.However, in surface waters the concern with phosphorus is at much lower concentration.Annual mean total phosphorus concentration in excess of only 20 μg/L may trigger eutrophication in some lakes(Champ, 1998).The OECD model suggests threshold of 35 μg/Lfor eutrophic lakes(OECD, 1982).However, our results are well in consonance with Imbach (1993) who reported concentration of phosphate ranging from 190-880 μg/L for karistic springs in the Çekirge-Bursa area of Turkey while Elhatip(1997) reported concentration of phosphate ranging from 70-90 μg/L for the Pamukkale thermal karst springs in Turkey.

All the springs display the presence of sulfates in waters.The concentration varies from 1.0-9.9 mg/L. The values obtained for these three springs revealed significant differences. Lower concentrations were observed in Khudanag and Tumbernag (1.74 mg/L and 2.58mg/L) against Nagrad (7.89 mg/L).The relatively higher concentration of sulfate in Nagrad may be correlated to the sewage, a source of sulfur in water (Metcalf and Eddy 1979).The ranges of sulfate in the springs were lower when compared to 1.1-62.5mg/L,being reported by Jeelani (2004) and (29.7-57.5mg/L) as obtained by Smith and Wood, (2002). The reason for low sulphate values in these springs may be attributed to rock formation impregnated with low concentration of CaSO4 which is reflected in the water chemistry especially when the water is issuing from underground sources(Cole,1979).

The dissolved silica did not fluctuated much and showed a little constancy, exhibiting values between 17.8 and 21mg/ which are higher than the values reported by Crowe and Sharp(1997;11-12mg/L) and; Pandit et al. (2002; 45-8.40mg/L) and lower than reported by Jeelani (2004; 29-39mg/L)and Yousuf and Shah( 1988; 8.3-18 mg/L).