A GIS-based fit for the purpose assessment of brackish groundwater formations as an alternative to freshwater aquifers

Abdullah Karim, Marangely Gonzalez Cruz, Elma A. Hernandez, Venkatesh Uddameri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

A fit for purpose (FFP) framework has been developed to evaluate the suitability of brackish water resources for various competing uses. The suitability or the extent of unsuitability for an intended use is quantified using an overall compatibility index (OCI). The approach is illustrated by applying it to evaluate the feasibility of the Dockum Hydrostratigraphic Unit (Dockum-HSU) as a water supply alternative in the Southern High Plains (SHP) region of Texas. The groundwater in Dockum-HSU is most compatible for hydraulic fracturing uses. While the water does not meet drinking water standards, it can be treated with existing desalination technologies over most of the study area, except perhaps near major population centers. The groundwater from Dockum-HSU is most compatible for cotton production, but not where it is currently grown. It can be a useful supplement to facilitate a smoother transition of corn to sorghum cropping shifts happening in parts of the SHP. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR), sodium, sulfate, and radionuclides are major limiting constituents. Dockum-HSU can help reduce the freshwater footprint of the Ogallala Aquifer in the SHP by supporting non-agricultural uses. Greater regional collaboration and more holistic water management practices are however necessary to optimize brackish groundwater use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2299
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Brackish groundwater
  • Deep aquifers
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Multicriteria decision-making (MCDM)
  • Municipal water use
  • Ogallala aquifer
  • Sustainability

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