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Development and Application of Water Quality Index (WQI) for the Evaluation of the Physico-Chemical Quality of Groundwater in Gold Mining Areas of Southeastern Senegal

DOI: 10.4236/jwarp.2023.152003, PP. 33-50

Keywords: Water Quality Index, Groundwater, Gold Mining, Pollution, Heavy Metals

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Abstract:

Water is the most essential requirement for life. It provides a variety of purposes such as a source of water supply for drinking, domestic and industrial use, irrigated agriculture, livestock, and mining activities. Evaluating the status of water quality from traditional approaches does not guarantee the whole overview of the water quality situation. Therefore, developing a tool that can convert multiple parameters data into information that is understandable by both technical and non-technical personnel is vital. In this context, the purpose of this paper was to develop, calculate, and apply a water quality index for assessing the suitability (for drinking purposes) of groundwater in the gold mining areas in south-eastern Senegal. The development of this index based on WHO water quality guidelines followed the five standards steps i.e., parameters selection, sub-index formation, parameters weighting and sub-index aggregation and evaluation. Finally, the WQI summarized twelve key water quality parameters into 05 simple terms (excellent, good, medium, poor, and very poor) which is more relevant for reporting to managers and the public in a consistent manner. Thus, it was observed in the study area, that the water quality indexes in artisanal and industrial mining areas are either poor or very poor while in the reference stations (where there are no mining activities) WQI are either good or excellent. This situation was attributed to the effects of mining activities in such zones which contribute to the pollution of groundwater with heavy metals, nitrates, and suspended solids.

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