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Pak. J. Anal. Environ. Chem. Vol. 12, No. 1 & 2 (2011) 88-94

Physicochemical Properties, Contamination and Suitability
of Canal Water for Irrigation, Lahore Branch Pakistan
Tayyaba Aftab1, Tahira Shafiq2, Bushra Khan*3
and Muhammad Nawaz Chaudhry4
Centre for Environmental Protection Studies,Pakistan Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Lahore, Pakistan.
College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.
Received 02 February 2011, Revised 09 March 2011, Accepted 02 November 2011
The pollution status of Lahore branch canal was determined by physical, chemical and metal
constituents because the water is used for irrigation of lands in and around the city. The average
result of each physical, chemical and metal parameter at 12 different sites (Location-1 to Location-
12) of Lahore branch canal was compared with Food and Agricultural organization (FAO). All
physical and chemical parameters were within standards limit while metals concentrations were
found in variable quantities in canal water samples. cadmium, copper and chromium concentration
was found much higher than the permissible FAO standards.

Keywords: Water; Contamination; Physico chemical parameters and Lahore branch canal.

Pakistan’s economy is largely depended on evaluate irrigation water guidelines [2]. In 1978, a
irrigation because of its arid and semi arid climate. study was conducted on the lined Bhambhanwala
The irrigation system is of the largest in world, Ravi Badian Depalpur (BRBD) link canal. The
consists of major reservoirs, barrages, main canals causes of deterioration of water quality and
and water forces over about millions of hectors of remedial measures were discussed in detail [3].
land. The available water does not need the The sediment increase in the canal due to heavy
irrigation requirement, to augment in adequate burden of population growth in turn increases the
supplies of good quality water; poor quality leaching effect to the ground water [4]. The
ground/drainage water is used [1]. Irrigation water impacts of pollution activities become widespread
is consumed by livestock and thus affects its and they affect the public health, the economy and
health. There is possibility of uptake of the environment [5]. The pollution load in Phulali
contaminants for irrigation water by crops thus canal, which passes through the Hyderabad city,
affecting human health. Many studies have been was high [6]. Sewage and industrial effluents are
conducted on the quality of canal water used for continuously flowing into the canal water, which is
irrigation. Extensive work has been done in used for agriculture purposes. The results of the
Pakistan regarding the evaluation of irrigation canal water quality were compared with FAO,
water quality. In this regard, work by irrigation WAPDA and PCRWR and National
department Punjab, Water and Power Development Environmental Quality Standards NEQS.
Authority (WAPDA), Pakistan Council of
Research on Water Resources (PCRWR) is The hazardous effect of metals on
notable. At the International level of FAO, United environment had seen in Faisalabad city, Pakistan.
Nation Guidelines has been extensively used to The chemical composition of soil and vegetation,
*Corresponding Author Email:

so as to determine the extent of pollution. The heavy overflowing gutters and wastewater drain. Dharampura. Many small and medium applies to surface water that is primarily used for size workshops and industries located in the areas irrigation and live stock watering and industrial of Jallo village.00. 12. Kasur with 4. Taj pura. plastic material. boating. industrial wastewater through compared to Bara river water [8]. Comparative study on irrigation canal and Bara river water on heavy metals contents The Lahore branch canal receives revealed that irrigation canal was less polluted as domestic. The sample number. during survey and collection of the samples. J. The Untreated wastewater reduces the suitability of evaluation of irrigation water for heavy metals canal water for irrigation. Three samples were collected canal water resources its ecosystem and suitability each month at each site for one year according to for required use. recreational brought to the laboratory within two hours of activities and irrigation. present study was aimed at collection and physicochemical analysis of water samples from Sampling technique Lahore branch canal. cooling waters. (Table 1) shows the detail of all Study area twelve sampling sites. date. Flow proportionate samples were collected and pooled to obtain one composite Experimental sample at that site. heat (weather conditions) solid and semi solid refuses (human. total suspended solids waste and wastewater from unauthorized factories TSS.000 acres of fertile agriculture tap water and many distilled water rinses [10]. A . agricultural total dissolved solids (TDS). Harbanspura. fruit and vegetable wastes. Each collected gravity flow. into the canal without any check and balance. Chem. Noshera. location and description of surroundings. inorganic pollutants. municipal sewage. The L-12. exact water in the canal is used publicly for swimming. un. Vol. Mehdi Pur are continuously importance on crop production. It was washing. phosphorous. A plastic cup waterway passing through the second larger city of with long handle was use to collect the samples in Pakistan. Fateh Garh.checked and discriminate disposal of analysis of different parameters [11]. settlement. Large non-homogenous matter as leaves. Anal. livestock consumption contamination was studied in Akbarpura District and aesthetics use. manganese. twigs and other floating Lahore branch canal is a beautiful material in the sample was avoided. temperature. nickel and lead [7]. Pak. The Lahore branch Niaz Baig labeled polyethylene 1 liter screw cap container distributory serves the districts of Lahore and which were cleaned sequentially with detergent. With the passage of time. Environ. industrial and chemicals used were of analytical grade and agriculture wastes accumulated organic and double distill water was used in the study. 1 & 2 (2011) 89 when irrigated with sewer mix canal water was total of 45 inlets were counted in 50-km stretch loaded with potassium. collection hours. Large metals contents were accumulated and distributed variation in physicochemical characteristics was in agricultural soil when irrigated by canal water observed at different sampling site from L-1 to mix with sewer and industrial wastewater [9]. No. copper. animal Physical parameters excretes. land with population of about 2. fishing. are commonly selected considering their Lalpul. collection and processed accordingly for the regular. Live stock health throwing domestic wastewater from human and human health. drinking. wood and glass) into the canal has Irrigation water is the class of water become very common. the water depth was surrounding areas that is a continuous threat to between 3-4 meters. standard procedures. iron. conductivity. Lahore. Mughalpura. The physical parameters of pH. Irrigation water quality parameters Baghbanpura. The ground water of the area is partly sample was recorded and identified with a unique sweet and saline with water table at 55 feet. the impact of activities by residents of At all sampling sites. sewer/ laundry effluent. All the domestic. All the area is being irrigated by sample water to avoid any space. Muslim Town.0 million Each container was filled to the brim with the inhabitants. zinc. rags. turbidity.

chemical oxygen demand Table 1. few polythene bags and wrappers. L-2. methods [12]. The lower value of turbidity was 375 FTU in much more poisonous form of un. sludge L-4 Lal Pul Heavily populated area.g. the ammonium ion is shifted to the site. Chem. Anal. near Construction activity in BRB canal.ionized sample. sewer /wastewater disposal pipe.90 Pak. sewer outlet. 1 & 2 (2011) settleable solids and dissolved oxygen DO were (COD) biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). DO in stream water is an indicator for control at the bottom. Change in All water samples were turbid (Table 2) DO and pH can be seen in (Fig. Normally the saturation level of concentration of soluble solids in water. sulphate. The pH is with earthy smell because surface water is open. Many substances increase in toxicity with changes Some construction activity was going on at the in pH. Vol. soil and many other control of undesirable chemical reactions such as surrounding environmental conditions. No.5 water requires minimum oxygen content of 5. vegetable farming. nickel Chemical / Inorganic parameters and iron were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Varian) according to standard Inorganic constituents of chloride. Sandy soil.4 °C was observed over the mg/L although it does not exists in Lahore branch time period of one year. Environ. Favorable anaerobic conditions exist of pollution because its value helps to maintain the when industrial or domestic wastewater is desirable conditions for normal growth and discharged into an aquatic environment. lot of sand L-2 After bridge 4 kilometer downstream Construction of canal (agriculture activity). Ltd. L-1 BRB and LBC upstream before bridge. Sampling Station Sampling Site Associated Activities. Shahkam industries etc) wastewater /effluent.76 indicating weakly alkaline and neutral. 12. determined by standard methods [12]. specified for aquatic life protection with the always exposed to air. chromium. The dissolution of metal ions in acidic or basic waters. no waste. industrial waste. domestic waste L-7 Punjab University Residential area. An increase by 13. nitrite and metal contents. A lot of paper. e. Electric conductivity is the canal these days. polythene and fruit vegetable waste L-5 Dharampura Residential area domestic and solid waste. L-8 Doctor’s Hospital Residential / commercial area L-9 Thokar Niaz Baig Commercial / residential. throughout the year. Fish in surface Temperature fluctuates in the range of 20. Dead animals. Few houses on both side L-3 Harbanspura A / B before and after bridge Residential area.0 °C. i-e. L-6 Shahjamal Residential area. domestic/ industrial waste L-10 PRCHS Industrial area (Dressor Masco. copper. Village side. canal gate No more population No polythene bags. cadmium. 1).45 to7. High value of turbidity and suspended ammonia as the pH of water rises above neutrality solids leads to the development of sludge deposits [13]. hardness. Physical parameters The pH range in canal water was 7. L-11 Mehdipur ABLE Pipes Pvt.1-33. maximum turbidity was 582 FTU in sample. zinc. nitrate. Energy Services. wind. J. The value oxygen in natural streams / rivers are temperature . industrial waste L-12 Green Fort Agriculture activities vegetable farming Results and Discussion of conductivity remains low. L-7.. reproduction of aquatic organisms. manganese.

71 6. .56 59.5-8. dissolved oxygen level was quite satisfactory.44 168.07 L-3 4181.02.70 437 2. Nitrate was in the range of 73. L-5 and L-7.0 423 1.0 1.6-29.1 1.0 1.0 2. Pollution profile in Lahore Branch canal. Upper and mg/L oxygen respectively [14]. 27.71 6.611.23 165.0 2. local.541.0 2. Pak.11 and while suspended solids were high 584 mg/L in maximum 7.1 1. 150 3500 .22 7. through the city indicated that the effluent from residential / small.34 380 2.41 150. L-3 was 18. 1).741. Chem.36 L-10 4451. L-3 and L-8 respectively. Nitrite and nitrate varies from 1-2.0.691.0 1. In all samples.16 54.0.5 mg/L.25 255. L-9 and L-11 contains expected FAO level.22 418 2.86 and 7. In table.0 2. chloride content in sample.7 1.02.7 174.1 1.09 500 1. .41 6.09 7.671.43 7.94 5842.9 1. Nitrites ground water comes.46 7.51 165.11 L-9 4151. Environ. Anal. sample L.01.07 L-12 5391.01.02.36 7. in samples.13 L-7 3751.0 and 28.83 388 1.61 63.85 63. The low level of DO indicates the widespread The value increases gradually as the canal passes sewage pollution (Fig.0 1.. Table-2.86 mg/L in sample L-1 and L-11 under FAO limits.99.01. industrial areas contain insoluble form rather in dissolved form.46 7.83 511 1. Low cations and anions in canal water are due to continuous flow and water dilution. 7.761.11 7.451.01.48 7.1 mg/L in sample. Anaerobic Total hardness is an index of the geological rotting and microbial decay of plants.08 L-2 5821.01.39 541 2.28 54. The concentration of TDS is considerably low minimum value was 6. Approximately 75% of the municipal suspended solids are organic in nature and nearly half are settleable solids [15]. L. animals are structure of the area from where the surface and responsible for nitrogen content in water. Water hardness was found to and nitrates concentration was lower than the be same in both samples.07 493 1. Shows the trend of DO of canal water sample. 6.75 75.23 6.1.0 1.17 190.30 180.27 7.75 sampling sites are given in (Table 2).5 278.5 to 13.0 mg/L.631.5 L-1 3871.0 mg/L in sample.16 168.41 L-6 4931. J.0 1.0 2.09 7.12 and lower 380 mg/L in sample.0 °C are 7.22 7.8 L-11 5201.01. the lower value of TDS was 150 mg/L and 278 mg/L.32 Inorganic parameters It is non-absorbable and was very small in all water samples in the range of 16. Vol.61 52.01.2 7.35 7.41 7.0 2.92 1. The sulphate concentration accounts 4.21 7.32 49. Ammonia concentration at for the major part of non-carbonate hardness [17].9 6.84 6.15 1.71 58.0 1.82 58. 1 & 2 (2011) 91 dependent and the expected values at temperature The amount of TDS and TSS at various 26.0 1.6 420 1. 12.The Physical parameters Lahore Branch Parameters Canal Turbidity TSS TDS Settable solids Dissolved Oxygen PH Sampling Sites (FTU) mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L NEQS (mg/ L) .01.0-4.17 7.14 L-5 5131.23 7.76 59.46 164.8 1.01.621.11 L-4 3841.1 mg/L 3.7.531.14 510 1. L-1.9 mg/L.15 7.591.36 L-8 5061.26 61 1. No.52 172. Figure-1.661. The Environment protection criterion (EPA) states that solids should not reduce the depth of compensation point (penetration of sunlight) for photosynthetic activity by more than 10 % from the seasonally established norm for aquatic life [16]. different sampling sites in canal was 1.9 mg/L.

01.36 L-10 28. Maximum was 10 mg/L in sample L-12 and potassium concentration were very small in all low in samples L-9. 40 .61. Table 3.59 18.27 9.e. For zinc.12 4. Nickel the oxidation level of the ions and the pH of water. The maximum sodium was 29. copper was magnesium counteract sodicity in case of water use high in concentration than the recommended FAO for irrigation [18].21.61.0 1. Sodium no health based guideline value has been proposed is particularly dangerous when used to irrigate but at lower pH.16 22.91.0 1.51.2 10. canal water samples.60 1.17 14.21.01.12 8.81. 12.19 7.001-10 mg iron per liter.5 mg/L.14 9.151. The variation of biological degradation of organic compounds.08 1.05-1.50 1.801.34 3. In sample In aerobic media iron occurs almost exclusively in L-3.91.33 3. 3.13 73. L-9 and L-10 few industries contains 0.36 L-8 16.46 9.88 2.15 3.71. Anal.51.21.42 3.91. Lahore Branch Parameters ( mg/L) Canal sampling Sites COD BOD5 Sulphate Nitrate Nitrite NH3 N Hardness Chloride NEQS (mg/L) 150 80 600 .14 L-2 30.411.12 18.1 1. Chem.51. 1000 L-1 26.05 62.2 1.31. < 50 mg/L.21. zinc seems to become mobile in heavy clay soils since it reduces the stability of the sandy aquifer.40 72.221.91.0-3.7 1.91.50 14. L-5 and L-12.01.01.03 .31.2 1.61.12 3.60 1.15 L-4 41.97 13.1 1. Its BOD5 prevails in canal i.01.47 mg/L.17 16.191.0 mg/L.08 68.0 1.37 11.21. All the were located so the presence of nickel was samples were low in iron concentration between conformed as shown in Table-4 but its 0. In (Table 4).12 6. water was due to percolation of some industrial which is known as sodicity.13 13.58 12.19 65. .61.53 5.17 29. No.20 73.08 1.21.35 21.7 10.6 1.11 1. The presence of copper in canal soil particles and causes physical degradation.15 4.0 1.05 mg/L.45 17.50 1.26 8.01.01.0 1.15 10.23 10 .51.17 10.0 mg/L.07 26. Surface water usually sampling sites L-8.12 74. are responsible for salinization of the soil. J.81.46 10.71.93 14.56 16.12 18.81.51. Vol.01.41 L-6 22.521.57 L-12 34.51.01.43 72.21 12. Calcium and wastewater.01 .51.32 Metal contents concentration was less than recommended FAO value.16 1.20 22.01.501.08 23.81.46 1.22 70.70 L-9 20.01.91.11 3.0 1. Sodium and level.21.35 7.41.23 1.36 18. Zinc was present in all samples. At the form of insoluble Fe+3. nickel construction was 0.8 1.26 10.66 62.0 1.71.26 19.0 1.19 4.21.44 23.16 60.5 1.01.291. Chromium concentration in Lahore .81. Zinc is an essential trace metal for plant Excess quantities of major dissolved ions growth.8 L-11 34. 1 & 2 (2011) Ammonia is produced by the hydrolysis of urea. use BOD at all sampling sites was between 10.18 L-3 42. range was 16.40 1.81.0 1.81.21.3.8 of nitrate in agriculture and chemical effluent mg/L indicating the presence of some organic being discharged by the industries. Potassium was found to Iron content of surface water depends upon be very low in the range of 1.21.34 70. Environ.61.01. In all canal water samples.51.01.5 to 42. The environmentally acceptable level of COD at all twelve sites is shown in (Table 3).09 18.36 11. was absent in sample L-1.51.51.13 4.71.16 18.1 1.0 1. Pollution profile in Lahore Branch Canal-Inorganic constituents.51 8.821.21.41 10.21 4.31.0 .16 . Variation of pollution.0 1.3-18.14 L-5 29.5 .92 Pak.09 11.4 20.91.861.88 L-7 17.24 2.11 11.0 mg/L in sample L.

130.29 N.13 canal water varies between 0.31 2.12 0.040.10±0.20. In all canal water standards because it is a good source of irrigation samples.D N. 12. Studues on the lined B.07 3.40. (Bombanwala Ravi Bedian depalpur) link canal causes of its deterioration and the Even then it is advisable to take remedial measures (Irrigation central region.16 2.1 1.09 1.260.14 L-10 0. taking into consideration the anti degradation 4.660.0 1.00.23 3.25 0. Anal.0020.08 12.380.16 0.21 0.280.09 3.05 3.2 N.200.D N. J.640.430.13 1. .470.200.50.040.470.1 beauty.0010.570.30.metal constituents.050.13 6.13 L-9 0. R.00.150.130.58 0.12 N.220.17 2.08 0.11 L-11 0.100.030.D L-7 0.360.06 0.390.030.2 0.32 L-8 0.13 mg/L in sample L-5 while the lower value was 0.490.D 0.21 N.150.07 0.B.040.70.0 L-1 0.24 0.20. Feb. Irrigated recreational use and the esthetic enjoyment.510.11 6.920.4 0.00.16 L-12 0.12 0.20 0.08 0.1 2.12 0.10 N.16 0.14 0.00. WWF – Pakistan.1 0.500. Lahore Parameters( mg/L) Branch Canal Sampling Zn Cr Cd Cu Na K Mn Ni Fe Sites NEQS (mg/L) 5. Cadmium is toxic to beans.31 0.11 L-5 0. A.0 0.D 0.11 0.60 0.471.1 7.15 2. The and gardening in district of Lahore and Kasur.0 .00. Chem. The turbid water interferes with the 1. rubbish.09 8.00.09 0. Pollution profile in Lahore branch canal. the pollution level in Lahore branch canal References was not very high except high turbidity and cadmium.030.14 0.0 2.470. Chaudhry.380. Chromium is not generally and prohibited the people living around not to recognized as an essential growth element but it throw wastes. (2007).12 7.17 0.200.D decreases the pollution effect.5 1.910. recreational activity the irrigation water mg/L in nutrient solutions [2].020.1 9.870.60.00.550.730. precautionary measures by the competent authority Lahore).860.60.12 L-6 0.5 mg/L level The city district government must consider throughout the year.02 29.620. The rain in monsoon season diluted the guidelines for Pakistan. Manganese was under limit in all canal water samples.450. The authors thank Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Conclusion laboratories Lahore for providing services for this research.07 16.050.45 0.23 0. Irrigation water quality in summer. Saleemi.21 0.20.56 0.D 0.26 in Acknowledgement sample L-11. From the physicochemical study of canal water.11 N.D 0. 1 & 2 (2011) 93 Table 4.08 15.00.12 1.15 2. No.12 L-4 0.03 18. Ahmad.1 20. Environ.77 0.510.880.100.11 1.11 0. (1986).17 N.20 0. Ahmad and G. 1.1 20.910. It can Agriculture of Pakistan Lahore.380.D 0. Vol.50.010.1 4.50.020.5 0. more critical contamination in the canal water. sewer and solid waste was above the limit.62 0.380.050.26 L-2 0.30 0.700. schemes for sustainable agricultural growth.20 0.090.04 10.19 0.04 0.11 5.20.350.15 N. .350.050.09 9.14 0.05 0.14 2.2 -0.10.1 8. Pak. also affect the skin of sensitive people swimming 2.90.050.430. (1978). directly into the canal in order to sustain the beets and turnips at concentration as low as 0.D 0.09 21. I.12 0.0050.30. Environmental assessment policy which provides some suggestions for and management or irrigation and drainage protection in its use for the required purpose. M.12 10.D 0. thus 3.02 7.03 9.100.90.11 1.15 0.17 L-3 0.150. maximum level of cadmium was 3.R. cadmium was above the FAO limit.00.15 0.010.08 9. N.540.40.050.390.000.

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