Assessing the inconsistncy between groundwater vulnerability and groundwater quality: The Case of Chapala Marsh, Mexico.

Hydrogeology Journal, 20: 591-603., 2012.


Aquifer systems present intrinsic properties such as vulnerability, which is identified as the potential risk of groundwater pollution by contaminants generated by human activity. When there are surface sources of pollution, usually there is a direct relationship between high vulnerability and decreased water quality. Nevertheless, this relationship is not observed in all aquifers and so the causative circumstances of inconsistencies between aquifer vulnerability and water quality have been investigated. This work addresses the vulnerability assessment of the Chapala Marsh area, Mexico, using SINTACS analysis. The Chapala Marsh aquifer is characterized by a granular structure and a fractured recharge zone; there are natural and anthropogenic sources of pollution. The results show discrepancies between the vulnerability indices and groundwater quality, as indicated by the existence of vulnerable areas with good water quality and vice versa. This is because the SINTACS method works well when contaminants have only vertical movement. For scenarios with lateral movement of contaminants, the method of geographic weighted regression (GWR) is used to model the influence of potential sources of contaminants on the water quality.