Seasonal Variability of Trace and Heavy Metals Concentration in Groundwater and its Quality for Drinking and Irrigation Purpose under Phuleli Canal Command Area (Sindh), Pakistan


 Trace metal, Heavy metal, Phuleli Canal, reduced distance (RD), WHO and FAO.

How to Cite

Ashifa Soomro, Altaf Ali Siyal, Muhammad Saffar Mirjat, & Nabi Bux Sial. (2013). Seasonal Variability of Trace and Heavy Metals Concentration in Groundwater and its Quality for Drinking and Irrigation Purpose under Phuleli Canal Command Area (Sindh), Pakistan. Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 9, 550–561.


The availability of good quality groundwater is a serious problem not only for drinking purpose but also for agriculture production. Human health problems due to waterborne diseases are commonly reported in Phuleli Canal Command area. In this context, a study was conducted to find out the existence of heavy metals as well as trace elements in groundwater of Phuleli Canal Command area, (Sindh) Pakistan which were affected by seasonal variability. The groundwater samples were collected from different seven locations i.e. RD-0, RD-30, RD-50, RD-70, RD-90, RD-110 and RD-130 throughout four seasons (summer, autumn, winter, and spring). Results of analysis of groundwater samples showed that Fe, Cd, Cr and Pb concentration in groundwater was higher than WHO permissible limit while Cu and Mn concentrations were greater than FAO limit. Comparatively heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Pb and As) concentrations in groundwater were higher towards downstream reach in winter as compared to upstream reach. Regarding seasons, the values of these parameters decreased in autumn>spring>summer. The results also showed increasing trend of heavy metal concentrations towards downstream reach (RD 130>110>90>70>50>30>0). It was concluded that groundwater in Phuleli Canal Command area contains highly toxic metals above the permissible limits of WHO and FAO for human consumption and agricultural crops respectively. Hence, people using groundwater, directly or indirectly, at downstream reach of the canal are at health risk.


Mulla JG, Asif S, Abed S, Vidya P. Ground Water Quality Assessment of Babalgaon, District Latur. J Chem Biol Phys Sci 2012; 2(1): 501-504.

Rao MH. Water situation in Pakistan getting grave. Pakistan Times, Federal Bureau. Daily Pakistan Times, 1st March 2010.

Gannon RW, Osmond DL, Humenik FJ, Gale JA, Spooner J. Agricultural Water Quality. Water Resour Bull 1998; 32(3): 437-50.

USEPA. Water and soil pollution. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC (USA) 1996; pp. 253.

PWP. Supplement to the Framework For Action (FFA) for achieving the Pakistan Water Vision 2025. Pakistan Water Partnership (PWP), Islamabad, Pakistan 2001.

Bashir AS, Gill MA, Yunus M, Ahmad M. Ground water contamination in Pakistan. The Environ. Monitor, Lahore, Pakistan 2001; 1: 3-9.

Pandey SK, Tiwari S. Physico-chemical analysis of ground water of selected area of Ghazipur city-A case study. Nat Sci 2009; 7(1).

Ramesh K, Vennila S. Hydrochemical analysis and evaluation of groundwater quality in and around Hosur, Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu, India. Int J Res Chem Environ 2012; 2(3): 113-22.

Watt GC, Britton A, Gilmour HG, Moore MR, Murray GD, Robertson SJ. Public health implications of new guidelines for lead in drinking water: A case study in an area with historically high water lead levels. Food Chemi Toxicol 2000; 38: S73-S79.

WHO. Guidelines for drinking water supply quantity (2nd edn). I. Recommendations. World Health Organization, Geneva 1993; pp. 180-181.

Shiva Shankaran M. Hydrogeochemical assessment and current status of pollutants in ground water of Pondichery region, South India. Ph.D. Thesis. Anna University, Chennai 1997.

Duan A, Kofi D. Hazardous waste risk assessment, library of congress cataloging in publication, Data Lewis Publication 1993; pp. 8-9.

Barman S, Sahu RK, Bhargava SK, Chatterjee C. Distribution of heavy metals in wheat, mustard and grown in the field irrigated with industrial effluent. Bulletin of Environ. Contamin Toxico 2000; 64: 489-96.

Santos EE, Lauria DC, Porto CL, Silveira DE. Assessment of daily intake of trace elements due to consumption of foodstuffs by adult inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro city. Sci Total Environ 2004; 327: 69-79.

Jarup L. Cadmium overload and toxicity. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2002; 17(Suppl. 2): 35-39.

Packham RF. Drinking water quality and health. In Harrison RM, Ed. Pollution, causes, effects and control. UK: The Royal Soci. Chem 1996; pp. 52-65.

Rajappa B, Manjappa S, Puttaiah ET. Monitoring of heavy metal concentration in groundwater of Hakinaka Taluk, India. Contemporary Engg Sci 2010; 3(4): 183-90.

Leghari A, Chandio SN, Khuhawar MY, Jahangir TM, Leghari SM. Physico-chemical study and budgetering of wastewater from Hyderabad City limits. J Biol Sci 2004; 4: 317-22.

Daily Dawn. Toxic water in Phuleli canal poses threat to people. Daily Dawn, National Newspaper, Published 12 March 2004;

Daily Dawn. Mills asked to stop releasing wastewater into canal. Bureau Report. Published on 15th March 2006; /2006/03/15 /nat20.htm

Guriro A. Lower Sindh faces health hazardous due to Phuleli canal’s contamination. Daily Times, National Newspaper, Published on May 19, 2009;

Nagarajan R, Rajmohan N, Mahendran U, Senthamilkuma S. Evaluation of groundwater quality and its suitability for drinking and agriculture use in Thanjavur city, Tamil Nadu, India. Environ Monit Assess 2010; 171: 289-308.

Nag SK, Ghosh P. Groundwater quality and its suitability to agriculture – GIS based case study of Chhatna block, Bankura district, West Bengal, India. Int J Eviron Sci 2011; 1(7).

Kahlown MK, Majeed A, Tahir MA. Water Quality Status of Pakistan (Report 2001-2002). Pak Council of Res in Water Reso Min of Sci and Techno 2012; Publication No. 121-2002; pp. 31-34.

Akoto O, Adiyiah J. Chemical analysis of drinking water from some communities in the Brong Ahafo region. Int J Enviorn Sci Technol 2007; 4(2): 211-14.

Wattoo MHS, Wattoo FH, Trimizi SA, Kazi TG, Bhanger MI, Mahar RB, Iqbal J. Quality characterization of Phuleli Canal water for irrigation purpose. J Nucleus 2000; 41(1-4): 69-75.

Marry Ann, Franson H. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 18th edition. Published jointly by APHA, AWWA and WEF 1992.

Gomez KA, Gomez AA. Statistical Procedure for Agricultural Research, 2nd ed. John Wiley Sons, New York, USA 1984.

Kirkhan MB. Study on accumulation of heavy metals in soils receiving sewage water. Agri Ecosystem Environ 1983; 9: 251.

Perveen S, Nazif W, Rahimullah, Shah H. Evaluation of water quality of upper Warsak Gravity Canal for irrigation with respect to heavy metals. J Agril Biol Sci 2006; 1(2): 19-24.

Papafilippaki AK, Kotte ME, Stavroulakis GG. Seasonal variations in dissolved heavy metals in the Ketris river, Chania, Greece. Golabal Nest J 2008; 10(3): 320-25.

Aamir I, Tahir S. Assessment of physico-chemical and biological quality of drinking water in the vicinity of Palosi drain Peshawar. Pak J Appl Sci 2003; 3(1): 58-65.

Vijaya Bhaskar C, Kumar K, Nagendrappa G. Assessment of heavy metals in watersamples of certain locations situated around Tumkur, Karnataka, India. E-J Chem 2010; 7(2), 349-52.

Majidano SA, Arain GM, Bajaj DR, Iqbal P, Khuhawar MY. Assessment of groundwater quality with focus on arsenic contents and consequences. Case Study of Tando Allahyar District in Sindh Province. Int J Chem Environ Engg 2010; 1(2): 91-96.

Khan ZA, Ashraf M, Hussain A, McDowell LR. Seasonal Variation of Trace Elements in a Semiarid Veld Pasture. J Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 2006; 37(9-10): 1471-83.

Haq MU, Puno HK, Khattak RA, Aif MS, Memon KS. Micro nutrients accumulation in effluent irrigated soils of the Korangi industrial area, Karachi-Sindh. Int J Agri Biol 2005; 7(2): 171-17.

Mohammad M. AL-Subu, Haddad M, Mizyed N, Mizyed I. Impacts of irrigation with water containing heavy metals on soil and groundwater-a simulation study. Water Air Soil Pollu 2003; 146: 141-52.

USEPA. Chemical contaminants in drinking water. Technical fast sheet on microbes. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2003; pp. 816.

Das M, Ahmed MdK, Islam MdS, Akter MS. Heavy metals in Industrial Effluents (Tannery and Textile) and Adjacent Rivers of Dhaka City, Bangladesh. J Terrestrial Aquatic Environ Toxicol 2011; 5(1): 8-13.

Rachna V, Biswas A, Kakaria V, Qureshi T, Borana K, Malik N. Seasonal variation in physicochemical parameters and heavy metals in water of upper lake of Bhopal. J Bull Environ Contamin Toxicol 2011; 86(2): 168-74.

Microsoft Encarta. Water pollution. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2001.

Chatterjee AK. Water supply, waste disposal and Environmental Engineering (Including odor, noise and air pollution and its control)”, 5th edition, Khana Publishers, New Delhi 160-173 and 368-379 1996.

Assadian NW, Esparza LC, Fenn LB, Ali AS, Miyamoto S, Figueroa UV, Warrick AW. Spatial variability of heavy metals in irrigated alfalfa fields in the upper Rio Grande River basin. J Agril Water Management 1998; 36(2): 141-56.

Pearce DW, Warford JJ. World Without End: Economics Environment and Sustainable Development. Oxford University Press (published for the World Bank) 1993.

Huanxin W, Chen X. Impact of polluted canal water on adjacent soil and groundwater systems. J Environ Geology 2000; 39(8): 945-50.

Lokeshwary H, Chandrappa GT. Impact of heavy metal contamination of Bellandur Lake on soil and cultivated vegetation. Curr Sci 2006; 91(5): 622-27.

De Vries W, Romkens PFAM, Schutze G. Critical soil concentrations of cadmium, lead and mercury in view of health effect on humans and animals. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 2007; 191: 91-30.

Huu HH, Rudy S, Van Damme An. Distribution and contamination status of heavy metals in estuarine sediments near Cau Ong harbor, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Geol Belgica 2010; 13(1-2): 37-47.

Okada IA, Sakuma AM, Maio FD, Dovidemskas S, Zenebon O. Evaluation of lead andcadmium in milk due to environmental contamination in Paraiba Valley region of South Eastern Brazil. Revista-de-Saude-Pub 1997; 31: 140-43.

Kumar P, Prasad Y, Patra AK, Swarup D. Levels of cadmium and lead in tissues of freshwater fish (Clarias batrachus L.) and chicken in Western UP (India). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2007; 79: 396-400.

Islam MR, Jahiruddin M, Islam S. Assessment of Arsenic in the water-soil-plant systems in Gangetic Floodplains of Bangladesh’. Asian J Plant Sci 2004; 3(4): 489-93.

Mazumder DNG, Haque R, Ghosh N, De BK, Santra A, Chakaraborty D, Smith AH. Arsenic in drinking water and the prevalence of respiratory effects in West Bengal, India”. Int J Epidemio 2000; 29: 1047-52.

Hung DQ, Nekrassova O, Compton RG. Analytical methods for inorganic arsenic in water: a review. Talanta 2004; 64: 269-77.

Ahuja S. Arsenic contamination of groundwater mechanism, analysis, and remediation. Wiley & Sons 2008.

Acharyya SK, Lahiri S, Raymahashay BC, Bhowmik A. Arsenic toxicity of groundwater in parts of the Bengal Basin in India and Bangladesh: the role of Quaternary stratigraphy and Holocene sea-level fluctuation. Environ Geol 2000; 39: 1127-37.

WHO. Guidelines for drinking water quality (3rd ed.) 2004; (ISBN 9241546387). Retrieved from /water_sanitation_health /dwq /guidelines/en/

Ayers RS, Westcot DW. Water quality for Agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United States. Rome Italy 1985.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2013 Ashifa Soomro, Altaf Ali Siyal, Muhammad Saffar Mirjat , Nabi Bux Sial