American Journal of Water Resources
ISSN (Print): 2333-4797 ISSN (Online): 2333-4819 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Water Resources. 2018, 6(6), 235-245
DOI: 10.12691/ajwr-6-6-4
Open AccessArticle

Spatio-temporal Variability of Physico-chemical and Biological Water Quality Parameters of River Ganges in Six Cities Situated on Indo-Gangetic Plain Transect

Deepak Singh1, , Braj B. Singh2 and Yogesh Kumar3

1School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

2Department of Chemistry, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India

3Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Pub. Date: December 17, 2018

Cite this paper:
Deepak Singh, Braj B. Singh and Yogesh Kumar. Spatio-temporal Variability of Physico-chemical and Biological Water Quality Parameters of River Ganges in Six Cities Situated on Indo-Gangetic Plain Transect. American Journal of Water Resources. 2018; 6(6):235-245. doi: 10.12691/ajwr-6-6-4


Rivers in any country are important lifeline for the population living around it whose water is used for drinking, agriculture, industrial and commercial purposes. The increasing anthropogenic activities like industrialisation, urbanisation and change in land use pattern, increased use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides in farming have lead to the discharge of the different types of contaminants in the river water. In the present article, the data has been acquired from Central Pollution Control Board, India which continuously monitors different kinds of water quality parameters every year at regular interval. The data analysis of the different biogeochemical water quality parameters of river Ganges has been carried out. In the present study, a total of six cities have been chosen to analyse the water quality of the river Ganges. The chosen six cities are Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna and Kolkata which are situated along the stretch of the river Ganges. The Haridwar is located at a place where the river Ganges enters the Northern Indian Plain from mountainous (Himalayan range) region while Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Patna are located on Plain and Kolkata is situated on the Deltaic region of river Hooghly which is one of the distributaries of river Ganges. For the analysis purpose, a total of eight water quality parameters which decide the contamination levels of the water bodies have been selected. These parameters are temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, Biological Oxygen Demand, Nitrate + Nitrite, Faecal Coliform and Total Coliform load. The study has been carried out with respect to the data from 2007 to 2016. In this ten years period, the data of four years i.e., 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 have been selected having gap of two years. In the spatial analysis of the result, it has been found that the river Ganges in Haridwar is least contaminated and the Kolkata is highly polluted in terms of the eight water quality parameters studied. In the correlation matrix analysis, the population of the city is negatively correlated with the altitude, temperature, dissolved oxygen while positively correlated with conductivity, BOD, Nitrate + Nitrite, Faecal Coliform and Total Coliform load. With regard to the Coliform contamination, except at Haridwar, rest of the river flow through the five cities indicated the Coliform contamination was many time above the standard limits prescribed by theCPCB.

Ganges River Indo-Gangetic Plain BOD Coliform water quality parameters

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Vörösmarty, C.J., McIntyre, P.B., Gessner, M.O., Dudgeon, D., Prusevich, A., Green, P., Glidden, S., Bunn, S.E., Sullivan, C.A. Liermann, C.R., et al., 2010. Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity. Nature, 467, 555-561.
[2]  Ross, D.J., Tate, K.R, Scott, N.A, Felthman, C.W., 1999. Land-use change: effects on soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus pools and fluxes in three adjacent ecosystems. Soil Biol Biochem, 31, 803-813.
[3]  Abler, D., Shortle, J., Carmichael, J., Horan, R., 2002. Climate change, agriculture and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay region. Climate Change, 55, 339-359.
[4]  Chen, J., Lu, J., 2014. Effects of land use, topography and socio-economic factors on river water quality in a mountainous watershed with intensive agricultural production in east China. PLoS ONE, 9-10.
[5]  Tong, S.T.Y., Chen, W., 2002. Modeling the relationship between land use and surface water quality. J. Environmental Management, 66, 377-393.
[6]  Withers, P.J., Jarvie, H.P., 2008. Delivery and cycling of phosphorus in rivers: A review. Science of the Total Environment, 400, 379-395.
[7]  White, M.D.; Greer, K.A., 2006. The effects of watershed urbanization on the stream hydrology and riparian vegetation of Los Peñasquitos Creek, California. Landsc. Urb. Plan. 74, 125-138.
[8]  Chen, C.R., Condron, L.M., Davis, M.R., Scerlock, R.R., 2000. Effects of afforestation on phosphorus dynamics and biological properties in a New Zealand grassland soil. Plant Soil 220, 151-163.
[9]  Amiri, B.J., Nakane, K., 2009. Modeling the linkage between river water quality and landscape metrics in the Chugoku district of Japan. Water Resource Management, 23, 931-956.
[10]  Parfitt, R.L., Scott, N.A., Ross, D.J., Salt, G.J., Tate, K.R., 2003. Landuse change effects on soil C and N transformations in soils of high N status: comparisons under indigenous forest, pasture and pine plantation. Biogeochemistry, 66, 203-221.
[11]  FAO, 2011, (
[12]  Merrill, S.D., Tanaka, D.L., Krupinsky, J.M., Liebig, M.A., Hanson J.D., 2007. Soil water depletion and recharge under ten crop species and applications to the principles of dynamic cropping systems, Agronomy J., 99, 931-938.
[13]  Sinha, R., Jain, V., Prasad, B.G., Ghosh, S., 2005. Geomorphic characterization and diversity of the fluvial systems of the Gangetic plains; Geomorphology, 70, 207-225.
[14]  Sarin, M.M., 2001. Biogeochemistry of Himalayan rivers as an agent of climatic change. Current Science, 8(11), 1446–1450.
[15]  Wadia. D.N., 1951: Geology of India, McGraw-Hill, London, 460pp.
[16]  Mohindra, R., Parkash, B., Prasad, J., 1992. Historical geomorphology and pedology of the Gandakmegafan, Middle Gangetic plains, India. Earth surface processes and landforms. 17, 643-662.
[17]  Pandey, A.C., Singh, S.K., Nathawat, M.S., 2012. Analysing the impact of anthropogenic activities on waterlogging dynamics in Indo-Gangetic plains, Northern Bihar, India. Int. J. Remote Sens. 33(1), 135-149.
[18]  Pal, D.K., Bhattacharyya, T., Srivastava, P., Chandran, P., Ray, S.K., 2009. Soils of the Indo-Gangetic Plains: their historical perspective and management. Current Science, 96, 1193-1202.
[19]  Trivedi, R.C., 2010. Water quality of the Ganga River – an overview. Aquat. Ecosyst. Health Manag. 13 (4), 347-351.
[20]  Singh, M., Singh, A.K., 2007. Bibliography of environmental studies in natural characteristics and anthropogenic influences on the Ganga River. Environ. Monit. Assess. 129, 421-432.
[21]  DIC, 2011, Brief Industrial Profile of District Haridwar, DIC Haridwar, Government of India, Ministry of MSME. (
[22]  Ansari, A.A., Singh, I.B., Tobschall, H.J., 1998. Organotin compounds in surface and pore waters of Ganga Plain in the Kanpur-Unnao industrial region, India. Science of the Total Environment. 223, 157-166.
[23]  Rai, U.N., Prasad, D., Verma, S., Upadhyay, A.K., Singh, N.K., 2012. Biomonitoring of metals in Ganga water at different ghats of Haridwar: implications of constructed wetland for sewage detoxification. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 89, 805-810.
[24]  DIC, 2011, Brief Industrial Profile of District Kanpur Nagar, DIC Kanpur, Government of India, Ministry of MSME. (
[25]  Sankararamakrishnan, N., Sharma, A.K., Sanghi, R., 2005. Organochlorine and organophosphorous pesticide residues in groundwater and surface waters of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. Environ. Int. 31, 113-120.
[26]  Katiyar, S., 2011. Impact of tannery effluent with special reference to seasonal variation on physico–chemical characteristics of river water at Kanpur (U.P), India. J. Environ. Anal. Toxicol. 1, 1-7.
[27]  DIC, 2011, Brief Industrial Profile of District, Allahabad, DIC Allahabad, Government of India, Ministry of MSME. (
[28]  Gupta, A., Rai, D.K., Pandey, R.S., Sharma, B., 2009. Analysis of some heavy metals in the riverine water, sediments and fish from river Ganges at Allahabad. Environ. Monit. Assess. 157, 449-458.
[29]  Raghuvanshi, D., Pandey, R., Pandey, V., Sharma, P.K., Shukla, D.N., 2014. Physico–chemical and pesticide analysis of river Ganga in Allahabad city, Uttar Pradesh, India. Asian J. Biochem. Pharma. Res. 3, 239-244.
[30]  DIC, 2011, Brief Industrial Profile of District, Varanasi, DIC Varanasi, Government of India, Ministry of MSME. (
[31]  Sinha, R.K., Sinha, S.K., Kedia, D.K., Kumari, A., Rani, N., Sharma, G., et al., 2007. A holistic study on mercury pollution in the Ganga river system at Varanasi, India. Current Science, 92, 1223-1228.
[32]  Hamner, S., Tripathi, A., Mishra, R.K., Bouskill, N., Broadaway, S.C., Pyle, B.H., et al., 2006. The role of water use patterns and sewage pollution in incidence of waterborne/enteric diseases along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India. Int. J. Environ. Health Res. 16 (2), 113-132.
[33]  DIC, 2011, Brief Industrial Profile of District, Patna, DIC Patna, Government of India, Ministry of MSME. (
[34]  Kumari, A., Sinha, R.K., Gopal, K., 2001a. Concentration of organochlorine pesticide residues in Ganga water in Bihar, India. Environ. Ecol. 19 (2), 351-356.
[35]  DIC, 2011, Brief Industrial Profile of District, Kolkata, DIC Kolkata, Government of India, Ministry of MSME. (
[36]  Aktar, M.W., Paramasivam, M., Sengupta, D., Purkait, S., Ganguly, M., Banerjee, S., 2009. Impact assessment of pesticide residue in fish of Ganga river around Kolkata in West Bengal. Environ. Monit. Assess. 157, 97-104.
[37]  Ghose, N.C., Saha, D., Gupta, A., 2009. Synthetic detergents (surfactants) and organochlorine pesticide signatures in surface water and groundwater of greater Kolkata, India. J. Water Resour. Protec. 4, 290-298.
[38]  Water quality parameters, Missouri, Department of Natural resources. (
[39]  World Health Organization (WHO), Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, WHO Press, Geneva, Switzerland, 4th edition, 2011.
[40]  Nollet, L.M.L., 2000. Handbook of Water Analysis, Marcel Dekker, New York, NY, USA, 2000.
[41]  Jia, W., Li, C., Qin, K., Liu, L., 2010. Testing and analysis of drinking water quality in the rural area of High-tech District in Tai’an City,” J. Agricultural Science, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 155-157.
[42]  APHA: American Public Health Association, Standard Methods: For the Examination of Water and Wastewater, APHA, AWWA, WEF/1995, APHA Publication, 1995.
[43]  Streamkeeper's Field Guide: Watershed Inventory and Stream Monitoring Methods, 1991, ISBN-13: 978-0965210904.
[44]  EPA, 2001, Parameters of Water Quality: interpretation and standards, Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland.
[45]  World Health Organization (WHO), Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, WHO Press, Geneva, Switzerland, 4th edition, 2011.
[46]  APHA., 2005. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st Edn. American Public Health Association/American Water Works Association, Washington, DC., USA.
[47]  Rim-Rukeh, A., Ikhifa G.O., Okokoyo, P.A., 2007. Physico-chemical characteristics of some waters used for drinking and domestic purposes in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Environ. Monit. Assess., 128: 475-482.
[48]  Yilmaz, E., Koc. C., 2014. Physically and chemically evaluation for the water quality criteria in a farm on Akcay. J. Water Resour. Prot., 6: 63-67.
[49]  CPCB, 2007, Guidelines for Water Quality Monitoring - Central Pollution Control Board, 2007-08. (
[50]  Burt, T.P., Trudgill, S.T., 1993. Nitrate in groundwater. In: Burt TP, Heathwaite AL, Trudgill ST, editors. Nitrate: processes, patterns and management. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, p. 213-38.
[51]  Grizzetti, B., Bouraoui, F., de Marsily, G., Bidoglio, G.A., 2005. Statistical method for source apportionment of riverine nitrogen loads. J. Hydrol. 304, 302-15.
[52]  Heathwaite, A.L., 2003. Nitrogen cycling in surface waters and lakes. In: Burt TP, Heathwaite AL, Trudgill ST, editors. Nitrate: processes, patterns and management. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, p. 99-140.
[53]  Oenema, O., van, L.L., Schoumans, O., 2005. Effects of lowering nitrogen and phosphorus surpluses in agriculture on the quality of groundwater and surface water in the Netherlands. J. Hydrol. 304, 289-301.
[54]  DWGB-4-1 (Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau), Environmental Fact sheet, 2010, interpreting the presence of Coliform bacteria in drinking water. (
[55]  EPA, 2014, Revised Total Coliform Rule: A Quick Reference Guide, 3 pp, EPA 815-B-13-001, Sep, 2014.
[56]  Pandey, A.C., Singh, S.K., Nathawat, M.S., 2012. Analysing the impact of anthropogenic activities on waterlogging dynamics in Indo-Gangetic plains, Northern Bihar, India. Int. J. Remote Sens. 33(1):135-149.
[57]  Ward, M.H., deKok, T.M., Levallois, P., Brender, J., Gulis, G., Nolan, B.T. et al., 2005. Workgroup report: Drinking-water nitrate and health – recent findings and research needs. Environ. Health Perspect. 113(11), 1607-14.
[58]  WHO report, 2015. Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking-water, Draft background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, 24 Nov, 2015.
[59]  Sadeq, M., Moe, C.L., Attarassi, B., Cherkaoui, I., El Aouad, R., Idrissi, L., Drinking water nitrate and prevalence of methemoglobinemia among infants and children aged 1-7 years in Moroccan areas. Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health, 2008, 211, 546-554.
[60]  Manassaram, D.M. Backer, L.C. Messing, R. Fleming, L.E. Luke, B. Monteilh, C.P., 2010. Nitrates in drinking water and methemoglobin levels in pregnancy: A longitudinal study. Environ. Health, 9, 60.