water quality
groundwater chemistry

How to Cite

Latos, B., Szczucińska, A., & Kozłowski, R. (2019). ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY AND IRRIGATION PURPOSE SUITABILITY OF ALLUVIAL WATER IN ERFOUD, MOROCCO. Quaestiones Geographicae, 38(3), 67–79.


Dry areas are especially exposed to the risk of water shortages and elevated mineralization. High water salinity, caused by low precipitation, high evaporation and human impact, usually strongly limits the use of the water for irrigation. The aim of the study was to assess the quality and irrigation purpose suitability of alluvial water in the Erfoud oasis, Morocco. The samples of water were collected from 20 wells in June 2017. We observed excessive concentrations of many parameters i.a.: NO3, Cd, Ni, Na, NH4, Cl, SO4, Fe, Cr. To determine the possibility to use the water for irrigation purposes, the Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR), sodium percentage (%Na), permeability index (PI), Kelly’s ratio (KR), magnesium hazards (MH) and electrical conductivity (EC) were assessed. The values of KR and MH qualified the waters as unsuitable for irrigation purposes. The observed %Na indicates that the groundwater is permissible for irrigation purposes, and permeability index, that it is of moderate quality. However, water classification using the SAR vs EC diagram confirms its high and very high alkali and salinity hazard. The mean EC value of the water was 9.5 mS cm−1.


Akdi M., Sedra M.B., 2015. Prospective Study: Choice of the Potential Sites Intended for the New Renewable Energy Approach. International Journal of Sustainable and Green Energy. Special Issue: Wind-Generated Waves, 2D Integrable KdV Hierarchies and Solitons 4(3–2): 6–9.

Alaya B.M., Saidi S., Zemni T., Zargouni F., 2014. Suitability assessment of deep groundwater for drinking and irrigation use in the Djeffara aquifers (Northern Gabes, south-eastern Tunisia). Environmental Earth Sciences 71(8): 3387–3421.

Alaya M.B., Khouni R., Zemni T., Khmeri S., Zargouni F., 2016. A multicriteria approach to study genesis of salted groundwater, Northern Jeffara (South-eastern Tunisia). Larhyss Journal 28: 103–119.

Ammar B.S., Taupin J.D., Zouari K., Khouatmia M., 2016. Identifying recharge and salinization sources of groundwater in the Oussja Ghar el Melah plain (northeast Tunisia) using geochemical tools and environmental isotopes. Environmental Earth Sciences 75(7): 606.

Andrade A.I.A.S.S, Stigter T.Y., 2009. Multi-methode assessment of nitrate and pesticide contamination in shallow alluvial groundwater as a function of hydrogeological setting and land use. Agricultural Water Management 96: 1751–1765.

Apello C.A.J., Postma D., 1994. Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution. Balkema, Rotterdam, 683.

Arumugam K., Elangovan K., 2009. Hydrochemical characteristics and groundwater quality assessment in Tirupur Region, Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu, India. Environmental Geology 58: 1509–1520.

Bahaj T., Kacimi I., Hilali M., Kassou N., Mahboub A., 2013. Preliminary study of the groundwater geochemistry in the sub-desert area in Morocco: case of the Ziz-Ghris basins. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science 7: 44–48.

Baran N., Mouvet C., Négrel Ph., 2007. Hydrodynamic and geochemical constraints on pesticide concentrations in the groundwater of an agricultural catchment (Brévilles, France). Environmental Pollution 148: 729–738.

Batista S., Silva E., Galhardo S., Viana P., Cerejeira M.J., 2002. Evaluation of pesticide contamination of ground water in two agricultural areas of Portugal. International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry 82: 601–609.

Bouchaou L., Michelot J.L., Vengosh A., Hsissou Y., Qurtobi M., Gaye C.B., Bullen T.D., Zuppi G.M., 2008. Application of multiple isotopic and geochemical tracers for investigation of recharge, salinization, and residence time of water in the Souss-Massa aquifer, Southwest of Morocco. Journal of Hydrology 352(3–4): 267–287.

Cerejeira M.J., Viana P., Batista S., Pereira T., Silva E., Valério M.J., Silva A., Ferreira M., Silva-Fernandes A.M., 2003. Pesticides in Portuguese surface and ground waters. Water Research 37: 1055–1063.

Charef A., Guedes A., Noronha F., Sousa M., 2009. Fossil and present-day hydrotermal fluids from North Tunisia: an example of a dynamic fluid evolution. Cadernos Laboratorio Xeolóxico de Laxe Coruña 34: 43–58.

Deshpande S.M., Ather K.R., 2012. Evaluation of groundwater quality and its suitability for drinking and agriculture use in parts of Vaijapur, District Aurangabad, MS, India. Research Journal of Chemical Sciences 2(1): 25–31.

Dłużewski M., Kozłowski R., Szczucińska A., 2017. Potential use of alluvial groundwater for irrigation in arid zones – Mhamid Oasis (S Morocco). Ecological Chemistry and Engineering S 24(1): 129–140.

El Bakouri H., Ouassini A., Morillo J., Usero J., 2008. Pesticides in groundwater beneath Loukkos perimeter, Northwest Morocco. Journal of Hydrology 34: 270–278.

EL Khoumsi W., Hammani A., Kuper M., Bouaziz A., 2014. Deterioration of groundwater in arid environments: what impact in oasis dynamics? Case study of Tafilalet, Morocco. International Journal of Environmental, Ecological, Geological and Marine Engineering 8(11): 689–695.

El Mandour A., El Yaouti C.F., Fakir C.Y., Zarhloule C.Y., Benavente C.J., 2008. Evolution of groundwater salinity in the unconfined aquifer of Bou-Areg, Northeastern Mediterranean coast, Morocco. Environmental Geology 54(3): 491–503.

Fakharian K., Narany T.S., 2016. Multidisciplinary approach to evaluate groundwater salinity in Saveh Plain, Iran. Environmental Earth Sciences 75(7): 624.

Fakir Y., Zerouali A., Aboufirassi M., Bouabdelli M., 2001. Exploitation et salinité des aquifères de la Chaouia côtière, littoral atlantique, Maroc Potential exploitation and salinity of aquifers, Chaouia coast, Atlantic shoreline, Morocco. Journal of African Earth Sciences 32(4): 791–801.

Foster S., Garduño H., 2013. Irrigated agriculture and groundwater resources–towards an integrated vision and sustainable relationship. Water Science and Technology 67(6): 1165–1172.

Hamzaoui-Azaza F., Ketata M., Bouhlila R., Gueddari M., Riberio L., 2011. Hydrogeochemical characteristics and assessment of drinking water quality in Zeuss–Koutine aquifer, southeastern Tunisia. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 174(1–4): 283–298.

Hem J.D., 1985. Study and interpretation of the chemical characteristics of natural water. Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey 2254.

Hildenbrandt A., Guillaom M., Lacorte S., Tauler R., Barcelo D., 2008. Impact of pesticides used in agriculture and vineyards to surface and groundwater quality (North Spain). Water Research 42: 3315–3326.

Jalali M., 2009. Groundwater geochemistry in the Alisadr, Hamadan, Western Iran. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 166(1–4): 359–369.

Kelly W. P., 1963. Use of Saline Irrigation. Water. Soil Science, 95(4), 355–391.

Kirchner J.W., Feng X., Neal C., 2001. Catchment-scale advection and dispersion as a mechanism for fractal scaling in stream tracer concentrations. Journal of Hydrology 254(1–4): 82–101.

Lachaal F., Mlayah A., Anane M., Bédir M., Tarhouni J., Leduc C., 2013. Comprehension and hydrogeological conceptualization of aquifer in arid and semi-arid regions using integrated hydrogeological information system: case of the deep aquifer of Zéramdine-Béni Hassen (east-central Tunisia). Arabian Journal of Geosciences 6(7): 2655–2671.

Laftouhi N., Vanclooster M., Jalal M., Witam O., Aboufirassi M., Bahir M., Persoons É., 2003. Groundwater nitrate pollution in the Essaouira Basin (Morocco). Comptes Rendus Geosciences 335: 307–317.

Latos B., Sobczak-Szelc K., Skocki K., Kozłowski R., Szczucińska A., 2018. Chemical composition of utility water in the arid climate zone on the examples of Kébili and Medenine regions (southern Tunisia). Prace Geograficzne 155: 139–156.

Lgourna Z., Warner N., Bouchaou L., Boutaleb S., Hssaisoune M., Tagma T., Ettayfi N., Vengosh A., 2014. Elucidating the sources and mechanisms of groundwater salinization in the Ziz Basin of southeastern Morocco. Environmental Earth Sciences 73(1): 77–93.

Mainguet M., Dumay F., Kabiri L., Rémini B., 2011. Prodromes of desertification in the Oasis of Tafilalet (Morocco) and specific local solutions. In: H.G. Brauch, Ú.O.Spring, Cz.Mesjasz, J. Grin, P. Kameri-Mbote, B. Chourou, P. Dunay, J. Birkmann, (eds.) Coping with Global Environmental Change, Disasters and Security. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace 5: 901–919.

Morvan X., Mouvet C., Baran N., Gutierrez A., 2006. Pesticides in the groundwater of a spring draining a sandy aquifer: Temporal variability of concentrations and fluxes, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 87(3–4): 176–190.

Piper A.M., 1944. A graphic procedure in geochemical interpretation of water analyses. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 25(6): 914–928.

Ragunath H. M., 1987. Groundwater, 2nd edn. Wiley Eastern Ltd, New Delhi.

Richards L. A., 1954. Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils; Agri. Hand book 60, US Dept. of Agriculture, Washington DC, 1954(160).

Rochdane S., Reddy D.V., El Mandour A., 2015. Hydrochemical and isotopic characterisation of Eastern Haouz plain groundwater, Morocco. Environmental Earth Sciences 73: 3487–3500.

Szabolcs I., Darab C., 1964. The influence of irrigation water of high sodium carbonate content of soils. In: Proceedings of 8th international congress of ISSS, transmission 1964(2), 803–812.

Szczucińska A., Dłużewski M., Kozłowski R., Niedzielski P., 2019. Hydrochemical Diversity of a Large Alluvial Aquifer in an Arid Zone (Draa River, S Morocco). Ecological Chemistry and Engineering S 26(1): 81–100.

Warner N., Lgourna Z., Bouchaou L., Boutaleb S., Tagma T., Hsaissoune M., Vengosh A., 2013. Integration of geochemical and isotopic tracers for elucidating water sources and salinization of shallow aquifers in the sub-Saharan Drâa Basin, Morocco. Applied Geochemistry 34: 140–151.

Whitehead P., Wilby R., Battarbee R., Kernan M., Wade A., 2009. A review of the potential impacts of climate change on surface water quality. Hydrological Sciences Journal 54(1): 101–123.

Wilcox L.V., 1955. Classification and Use of Irrigation Water. US Department of Agriculture, New York. Online: www. pdf (accessed 13 February 2019).

Williams W.D., 2001. Anthropogenic salinisation of inland waters. Hydrobiologia 466(1–3): 329–337.

WHO [World Health Organization], 2017. Guidelines for drinking-water quality: first addendum to the fourth edition, 1st add, 4th ed. Online: (accessed 14 May 2018).