Published on 2014-12-12 @ 05:48:00 AM

Mikunthan, et al. (2006)

The Jaffna Peninsula, falls within the dry zone in Sri Lanka, is underlain by Miocene limestone that is considered to have appropriate aquifer properties for groundwater storage and discharge. The absence of perennial rivers or major water supply schemes to the Peninsula highlights the importance of groundwater as the predominant water resource for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. The seasonal rainfall is of short duration, and is the only source of recharge to the limestone aquifer. The Jaffna Peninsula has four main aquifer systems, namely Chunnakam (Valikamam area), Thenmaratchi, Vadamaratchi and Kayts, of which the Valikamam area is intensively cultivated in the Jaffna Peninsula. The water available within these limestone aquifers is predominantly used for domestic and irrigation purposes. Intensive irrigation, higher inorganic fertilizer usage along with increases in population growth associated with resettlement has the potential over time for over-extraction of groundwater resources and deterioration in water quality. There is currently a deficit in long-term monitoring of the quantity of water stored and extracted from these aquifers along with changes in the water quality. An assessment of the vulnerability of groundwater for irrigation and drinking purposes has become a necessary and important task for the management of present and future groundwater quality in the Chunnakam aquifer. The suitability of water for any use is determined not only by the total amount of salt present in the water but also by the type of salt that is present. Water quality or suitability for use is judged on the potential severity of problems that can be expected to develop during long-term use. It is, therefore, essential to establish baseline information on water quality and availability to assist in long-term planning whilst ensuring the integrity of supply for the Jaffna Peninsula. Though several studies have been undertaken on groundwater quality in the Peninsula, no systematic studies have been carried out to characterize the chemical quality and recharge potentials of aquifers in the Jaffna Peninsula. The objective of this study was to characterize the hydrogeochemical attributes of the Chunnakam aquifer with the specific objectives of assessing the geochemistry and water quality of the aquifer, mapping groundwater recharge areas and assessing the recharge potentials, identifying nitrate sources and computing the surface loading of nitrate, and making the information easily accessible to future research studies and water/land-use managers.

Mikunthan, T., Vithanagae, M., Pathmarajah, S., Ariyaratne, R. and Manthrithilake, H. (2006) Hydrogeochemical Characterization of Jaffna's Aquifer Systems in Sri Lanka, International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka, pp. 69. Read paper