Land Use Changes and Their Impact on Groundwater Quality in Mid Hills of Himachal Pradesh

Pratima Vaidya, Satish Kumar Bhardwaj


Impact of dominant land use changes on groundwater quality was assessed in mid hills of Himachal Pradesh. Area under vegetable, orchard and urban settlements has increased, whereas traditional agriculture and forest has decreased in the region during last 30 years. To assess the impact of such changes on groundwater quality an experiment was designed by taking five dominant land uses viz., traditional agriculture, commercial vegetable farming, orchard, forest and urban under randomized block design with four replications in Kullu and Solan district. 60 ground water samples were collected and analyzed for various water quality parameters. Study revealed that the land use changes have exerted significant influence on ground water quality parameters like EC, BOD, COD, chloride, nitrate, sulphate, Ca, Mg, Fe, Pb, Cd and Cr. The BOD, COD Cl, NO3, SO4, Ca and Mg concentration in groundwater varied in the order of land use:  urban > vegetable > orchard > traditional agriculture > forest. Vegetable and urban land uses have started to adversely influence groundwater quality by exceeding the values of heavy metals over permissible limits.


BOD; COD; Forest; Heavy Metals; Intensive Farming; Orchard; Urban; Vegetable


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