Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment of the Tarkwa Mining Area Using SINTACS Approach and GIS
Groundwater vulnerability assessment to delineate areas that are susceptible to contamination from mining and anthropogenic activities has become an important element for resource management and landuse planning. In view of the extensive mining in the Tarkwa area, quality of groundwater has become an important issue. This study estimates aquifer vulnerability by applying the SINTACS model which uses seven environmental parameters to evaluate aquifer vulnerability and geographical information system (GIS) in the Tarkwa mining area. Sensitivity analysis has also been carried out to evaluate the relative importance of the model parameters for aquifer vulnerability. The SINTACS model results show that the intrusive rocks within the Tarkwaian and the Birimian rocks are dominated by very high vulnerability classes while the Banket Series is characterised by high vulnerability class. The Huni Sandstones have moderately high vulnerability. In addition, the Kawere Group and the Tarkwa Phyllites displayed medium vulnerability. Analysis from the variogram model shows that all parameters used in the SINTACS model have a strong spatial structure. From statistical analysis, depth to water parameter inflicted the highest impact on the vulnerability of the aquifer followed by effective infiltration, vadose zone media, soil media, aquifer media, topography and hydraulic conductivity in the order of decreasing impact. Sensitivity analysis indicated that the aquifer media, hydraulic characteristics and topography cause large variation in vulnerability index. Depth to water and effective infiltration were found to be more effective in assessing aquifer vulnerability.
Keywords: Groundwater, Vulnerability, Tarkwa, SINTACS, GIS