Nitrate Pollution In The Delicias-Meoqui Aquifer Of Chihuahua, Mexico
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M. S. Espino, H. O. Rubio & C. J. Navarro
Nitrate concentration higher than 10 mg L-1 in drinking water can cause health problems, especially in infants. Nitrates from a variety of surface and subsurface sources, such as fertilizers, are soluble in water and can leach into groundwater causing quality degradation. Groundwater from Delicias-Meoqui aquifer supplies drinking and irrigation water to six municipalities in the state of Chihuahua. A part of the area overlying this aquifer corresponds to the irrigation district DR-005, one of the most important hydro-agricultural works in Mexico. An evaluation was conducted using historical water quality data from 134 drinking water wells to make a preliminary diagnosis concerning nitrate presence in that aquifer. Water analyses showed that 34% of samples have nitrate concentrations equal or higher than the 10 mg L-1 drinking water standard. Most of these samples were from the Delicias, Saucillo and Meoqui municipalities, with approximately 180,000 inhabitants total. Undoubtedly, the high nitrate concentrations can be attributed to pollution within the irrigation district DR-005 where nitrogen fertilizers in large quantities are applied, dissolve in water and move with it through the soil profile down to groundwater. This preliminary evaluation will contribute to the development of preventative strategies that can protect groundwater in proximity to agricultural production systems from nitrate contamination. Keywords: nitrate, fertilizers, leaching, groundwater pollution, Delicias-Meoqui aquifer, Chihuahua, México.
nitrate, fertilizers, leaching, groundwater pollution, Delicias-Meoqui aquifer, Chihuahua, México.