Abstract

The study area of Ain Oussera (3,790 km2) is located in the semi-arid high plains of the Saharian Atlas (200 km south of Algiers). Groundwater investigated in the present study is from the Albian formations which are considered as a major source for drinking and irrigation water. The objective of this study is to identify the different hydrochemical processes controlling the groundwater mineralization. For this purpose, chemical analyses were performed on 31 wells sampled during May 2014. The chemical study (TDS, Piper, chemical correlation) allowed the origins of groundwater mineralization to be identified. The dissolution of evaporate minerals, precipitation of carbonate minerals, and ion exchange reactions have been identified as major sources of mineralization processes. Anthropogenic processes due to human activities (sewage effluents and agricultural fertilizers) also contribute to the mineralization of the water. The results of principal component analysis also confirm that both natural and anthropogenic processes contribute to the chemical composition of groundwater in the study area.

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