The Bengal basin has the world's densest water diversion constructions on the natural courses of rivers. The most damaging water diversion construction is the Farakka Barrage upon the international River Ganges. The diversion of water through this barrage and other constructions upstream of it has reduced the Ganges flow rate by 2.5 times. The resulting downstream effects are the depletion of surface water resources, more withdrawal than recharge of groundwater, sinking groundwater table, spread in depth and extension of the vadose zone, changes in surface features, climatic changes, etc. An investigation was carried out to find the contributions of water diversion to the arsenic contamination of groundwater in the Bengal basin. The reasonable scenario for arsenic contamination is the oxygen deficiency in groundwater and aeration of arsenopyrites buried in the sediment that would remain under water prior to 1975. The mineral forms water-soluble compounds of arsenic when react with atmospheric oxygen. These soluble arsenic compounds infiltrates to the groundwater. This article summarizes the short-time and incomplete study-based quick conclusions reached by investigators that have totally avoided the vital issue of water diversion. It then shows the depleting condition of the water resources under continuing diversions, the generation of favorable condition for arsenic release, the reasons for low sulfur concentration, the reason for first contamination in the Hugly basin, and the hindrance to water's self-purification. The articles advocates that the restoration of the virgin wetland ecosystems in the Bengal basin following the stoppage of the inordinate amount of unilateral upstream water withdrawals can remove the catastrophe.
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Research Article| December 01 2005
The background state leading to arsenic contamination of Bengal Basin groundwater
J Water Health (2005) 3 (4): 435–452.
Miah M. Adel; The background state leading to arsenic contamination of Bengal Basin groundwater. J Water Health 1 December 2005; 3 (4): 435–452. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wh.2005.053
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