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Hydrogeology of Eastern Niger Delta: A Review

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Document pages: 37 pages

Abstract: This paper characterizes the aquifer system of the Niger Delta for sustainable development of the groundwater resource. The heavy-dependence on groundwater in the region and the fears of its unsustainability triggered by the weak regulations, pollution, increasing user population and industrialization coupled with the present limited knowledge of the true geological condition prevailing within the groundwater domain of the Niger Delta are the considerations that compelled this review study. The hydraulic properties of the region’s aquifers are discussed. The Niger Delta is characterized by a complex multilayered aquifer system hosted in the Benin Formation with the main body of fresh water, with increasing occurrence of intercalating clay units towards the coast. Lithological analysis indicates the prevalence of unconsolidated sand and sandy gravels in the aquiferous horizons, presenting them as pervious and prolific aquifers. Reported hydrochemical data gathered from wells drilled suggest that the quality of groundwater in the Niger Delta is considered generally very good and compares favorably with WHO standards for drinking water. However, relatively high iron manganese and chloride values are localized in time and space. In the coastal areas however, seawater intrusion has been identified as one of the major influences on hydrochemistry of groundwater in the shallow unconfined aquifers. Regional groundwater flow direction is from north to south. Changes in groundwater flow directions which occur at some places generally serve localized discharge areas. The resultant flow path eventually joins and feeds the major regional north-south flow direction. The increasing pressure on groundwater, the need for urgent attention and the absence of strong institutions and regulations have made the management of groundwater resources in the region a difficult task. Therefore, future ground water resources development in the Niger Delta requires adequate observational data, investments in infrastructure and an integrated management approach to ensure optimal basin-wide benefits.

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