Delineating sources of groundwater recharge in an arsenic-affected Holocene aquifer in Cambodia using stable isotope-based mixing models

Richards, Laura A. and Magnone, Daniel and Boyce, Adrian J. and Casanueva-Marenco, Maria J. and van Dongen, Bart E. and Ballentine, Christopher J. and Polya, David A. (2018) Delineating sources of groundwater recharge in an arsenic-affected Holocene aquifer in Cambodia using stable isotope-based mixing models. Journal of Hydrology, 557 . pp. 321-334. ISSN 0022-1694

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Abstract

Chronic exposure to arsenic (As) through the consumption of contaminated groundwaters is a major threat to public health in South and Southeast Asia. The source of As-affected groundwaters is important to the fundamental understanding of the controls on As mobilization and subsequent transport throughout shallow aquifers. Using the stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen, the source of groundwater and the interactions between various water bodies were investigated in Cambodia’s Kandal Province, an area which is heavily affected by As and typical of many circum-Himalayan shallow aquifers. Two-point mixing models based on δD and δ18O allowed the relative extent of evaporation of groundwater sources to be estimated and allowed various water bodies to be broadly distinguished within the aquifer system. Model limitations are discussed, including the spatial and temporal variation in end member compositions. The conservative tracer Cl/Br is used to further discriminate between groundwater bodies. The stable isotopic signatures of groundwaters containing high As and/or high dissolved organic carbon plot both near the local meteoric water line and near more evaporative lines. The varying degrees of evaporation of high As groundwater sources are indicative of differing recharge contributions (and thus indirectly inferred associated organic matter contributions). The presence of high As groundwaters with recharge derived from both local precipitation and relatively evaporated surface water sources, such as ponds or flooded wetlands, are consistent with (but do not provide direct evidence for) models of a potential dual role of surface-derived and sedimentary organic matter in As mobilization.

Keywords:arsenic, Groundwater, Isotopic tracing, Cambodia
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F810 Environmental Geography
F Physical Sciences > F670 Geochemistry
F Physical Sciences > F140 Environmental Chemistry
F Physical Sciences > F852 Hydrology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
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ID Code:30296
Deposited On:14 Mar 2018 17:02

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