Urbanization-led land use changes have significant effects on urban water problems as water scarcity is a common challenge for planning of cities today. Chunnakam aquifer in Jaffna, Sri Lanka has been significantly depleted and polluted in the past decade. This study assessed the impact of spatial distribution of land use on water quality and quantity using 44 dug wells. Water scarcity index (WSI), water quality index (WQI) and multiple linear regression (MLR) models were used to explore the spatiotemporal patterns of water quality, quantity and their relationship. Results revealed that 75% of the aquifer faced scarcity problems while 54% was polluted and not suitable for consumption. Moreover, water sources located around agricultural and residential land use were contaminated in line with the spatial distribution of crop types, fertilizer use and domestic waste disposal. Integration of water policy with urban development strategy and multi-stakeholder engagement for water conservation are important findings for ensuring the water security of cities in developing countries. This study can be further expanded by evaluating temporal effects of urbanization on water resources for sustainable spatial planning. Strong water policies must govern the land use change to ensure water security for arid regions in developing countries.

  • Evaluation of impact of Urban Development on water resources to support future decision makers.

  • Create comprehensive assessment of quality and quantity of water scarcity in cities.

  • Support policy makers to integrate multidisciplinary focus areas in water management.

  • Statistical assessment to understand the specific parameters leading to the scarcity in urban areas.

  • Vitality of aquifer in sustaining the life in arid areas.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
This content is only available as a PDF.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits copying and redistribution for non-commercial purposes with no derivatives, provided the original work is properly cited (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Supplementary data