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The occurrence and origin of salinity in non-coastal groundwater in the Waikato region


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The aims of this project are to describe the occurrence, and determine the origin of non-coastal saline groundwater in the Waikato region. High salinity limits the use of the water for supply and agricultural use.
Understanding the origin and distribution of non-coastal salinity will assist with development and management of groundwater resources in the Waikato.
The occurrence of non-coastal groundwater salinity was investigated by examining driller’s records and regional council groundwater quality information. Selected wells were sampled for water quality analyses and temperatures were profiled where possible. Water quality analyses include halogens such as chloride, fluoride, iodide and bromide. Ratios of these ions are useful to differentiate between geothermal and seawater origins of salinity (Hem, 1992). Other ionic ratio approaches for differentiating sources and influences on salinity such as those developed by Alcala and Emilio (2008) and Sanchez-Martos et al.,
(2002), may also be applied. Potential sources of salinity include seawater, connate water, geothermal and anthropogenic influences. The hydrogeologic settings of saline occurrence were also investigated, to explore the potential to predict further occurrence.
Numerous occurrences of non-coastal saline groundwater have been observed in the Waikato region.
Where possible, wells with relatively high total dissolved solids (TDS) were selected for further investigation.
Several groundwater samples are moderately saline and exceed the TDS drinking water aesthetic guideline
of 1,000 g m-3 (Ministry of Health, 2008).
Selected ion ratios (predominantly halogens) were used to assist in differentiating between influences on salinity such as seawater and geothermal. Bromide to iodide ratios, in particular, infer a greater geothermal influence on salinity, although other ratios are not definitive.
The anomalously elevated salinity observed appears natural but nevertheless has constrained localised groundwater resource development for dairy factory, industrial and prison water supply use. Further work may show some relationship with geology or tectonics, which could assist prediction of inland saline groundwater occurrence.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop or other event, and published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: origin, salinity, non-costal, groundwater, Waikato region
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Q Science > QE Geology
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Engineering and Industrial Design
Depositing User: Maryam Moridnejad
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 21:56
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 07:47

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