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University of Bath

Mapping Groundwater Vulnerability and Hydrocarbon Contamination in a Semi-Arid of Northern Nigeria

This project aims to develop a conceptual framework to model groundwater vulnerability for semi-arid regions.

Groundwater Sustainable Management will be described by use of significant parameters from conceptual groundwater vulnerability models, components of DRASTIC Index model and GOD Index Model will be used to develop a new model for semi -arid. A new data for hydrogeological properties and sources of contamination within the kano region will be complied. The research aim and objectives are:

I. map the intrinsic vulnerability of groundwater within Northern Nigeria.

II. An inventory of potential groundwater contaminants (hazards)sources in the areas,and assess their risk of groundwater contamination.

III. To assess the risk of groundwater contamination from selected hydrocarbon sources (petrol stations, pipeline and automobile [mechanic] garages)in the areas.

Project outline

Hydrocarbon contamination in groundwater is great concern in the African such as Nigeria cities, little has been achieved in terms of scientific study in most parts of this semi-arid region sub-Saharan countries. This research project on mapping groundwater contamination in semi-arid regions will address the gaps within the literature and existing research base. Building on results and recommendations from the literature and known environmental problems (Ministry of the Environment Nigeria; personal communication), the following research questions will be addressed by this research: What are the spatial variations of intrinsic (natural) groundwater vulnerability in most urban parts of Nigeria?

i. What are the sources and nature of groundwater contamination within the study area?

ii. What are the physical and chemical environmental parameters that are significant as variables for a vulnerability assessment within the semi-arid region of Kano, Nigeria?

iii. What is the likelihood of groundwater contamination from selected hydrocarbons sources (petrol stations, automobile shops and depot storage tanks) in Kano?


Groundwater vulnerability assessment tools have been developed for use in Europe and North America under generally humid conditions, whereas the vulnerability of groundwater in arid and semi-arid remains is much less developed. With this research, the ability of existing commonly used frameworks such as DRASTIC and GOD are assessed, to model groundwater vulnerability within the semi–arid region of Kano Nigeria. Combined analysis of large-scale existing data sources on hydro-meteorological, environmental and anthropogenic factors will be used to evaluate the vulnerability of groundwater resources in the city.

In particular, the capability of groundwater vulnerability models of DRASTIC and GOD Index models to evaluate the contributions of various environmental parameters (depth of water table, net recharge, aquifer media, soil media, Topography, impact of vadose zone, hydraulic conductivity, and ground water conferment, overlying lithology, depth of water) to the protection of groundwater against contamination. The mapping was conducted within the framework of Geographical information systems. (Arc GIS 10.2).


Following a sequential exploratory mixed method approach, the research has two elements of collection, quantitative and qualitative data identifying Groundwater models from the literature. The ultimate aim of the two phases of the research is to develop a conceptual framework of Groundwater Vulnerability models with for semi-arid region. There is a close relationship between that areas with vulnerability and water quality. In order to check the reliability of the models creates water quality will be carried out to validate the results obtained.

Phase 1

This phase considered reviewing current Groundwater models and similar studies that focused on identifying groundwater pollution. The ultimate aim of this phase is to develop a conceptual framework of Groundwater vulnerability assessment for semi-arid region of northern Nigeria. By the end of this phase the Researcher will work towards publishing a journal paper ‘’journal of Geoscience and Environment protection with Scientific Research publishers. The paper will aim to develop a conceptual modified Groundwater models for the semi-arid region with significant parameters.

Furthermore, being a member with Hydrocarbon pollution Remediation Project Government organization Nigeria (HYPREP) gives the researcher the opportunity to publish hydrocarbon sources affecting the quality of water. The large case study will allow the researcher to access many stakeholders, professionals including environmental expert, scientists, and fieldwork techniques.

Phase 2

This paper aims to develop and refined the framework from paper 1, through conducting selected case studies within Nigerian Water resources agencies and other responsible agencies in charge of groundwater. This phase ultimately aims to validate the framework of the new Model created from phase 1 following the (Lodwick, Monson and Svoboda, 1990)techniques approach. Similar to previous studies of (Babiker et al., 2005),once data is obtained and analysed, the researcher will work towards publishing the second paper in ‘’Hydrocarbon contamination in Boreholes around Kano metropolises. Which will aim to create a developed framework that is more focused for hydrocarbon contamination sources.currently there is no clear evidence that any framework has been developed for the assessment of hydrocarbon sources which affect the quality of the water. The researcher will work towards publishing the final results of the PhD thesis in a refereed academic journal. (Groundwater Vulnerability assessment). There is a need therefore, to document the hazards, assess their risk to groundwater contamination in the area, through mapping the spatial variations of groundwater vulnerability to contamination in the area. The assessments and documentations will alert the concerned authorities on the threats to the groundwater resources in the area. That will prompt them to initiate appropriate programmes aiming at reducing the impact of the hazards,and take informed decisions on land use allocation and modification. When all these are incorporated into GIS environment, it will facilitate quick update on the database shall any undocumented information become available.