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Ground Water at Ugwulangwu and Its Environs

Groundwater- CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Groundwater is described as water which exists below the earth surface within the saturated layers of sand, gravel and pore spaces in sedimentary regions as well as crystalline rocks (Oseji and Ofomola, 2010).It can also be explained as the water situated below the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of lithologic formation.(Anomohanran,2013).

It is the largest available reservoir for fresh water (Alabi ,2010). Telford et al (2004) explains groundwater to mean the water occupying all the empty spaces within a geologic stratum. It is among the natural resources of prime importance to man throughout the world. Oseji et al. (2005) noted that groundwater occurs in many types of geologic formations. Those known as aquifer are the most important and are defined as formations containing sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant quantities of water to wells and spring (Abiola et al., 2009).

Ground water is the main source of water for industries, communities and agricultural consumptions in Nigeria especially at Ugwulangwu. Due to its freshness, chemical compounds, constant temperature, lower pollution coefficient and higher reliability level, it is considered as a basic source of supplying reliable fresh water in urban and rural areas. Nowadays, about 34% of the world’s water resources belong to ground water and is an important source of drinkable water (Nampak, Pradhan and Manap., 2014; Rahimi and Moosavi, 2013).

Ugwulangwu is located in Ohaozara L.G.A. of Ebonyi state and is made up of predominantly rural dwellers who are mostly farmers. They make use of water from streams and pond that are located at various points in their community for drinking and other domestic purposes. There is usually water scarcity especially in the dry season when most of the streams and pond dry up. Because of the unavailability of functional boreholes, they make  use of  water from these streams and pond for their day to day domestic activity and this ofcause expose them to risk of consumption of low quality water which constitutes to them some major health challenges such as guinea worm, cholera, typhoid, stomach disorder and so on.

 Therefore, recognizing the alternative sources that can help in providing water in the area and optimal usage of them will obviously stabilize and make it permanent  for the use of   this natural wealth in the area. A common way of preparing ground water potential maps is based on land surveying using geophysical investigation methods. Such geophysical method as direct current (DC) resistivity method has been useful in the potential detection of ground water resources which can be carried out  more easily, more accurately and in shortest-time intervals (Nampak et al., 2014; Rahimi and Moosavi, 2013).

Direct current (DC) resistivity method involves injecting a steady state electrical current into the ground and observing the resulting distribution of potentials (voltages) at the surface or within boreholes. Like all geophysical processes, DC surveys can be described in terms of input energy, the earth’s physical properties, and signals or data that are  measured. For DC resistivity surveys, the energy source is a generator which injects a constant current into the ground using two electrodes. The “signals out” (data) are voltages measured at various places on the surface, along with strength of the known current source (in Amperes) and details about relative geometry of the four electrodes.

Direct current resistivity method measures earth resistivity using a direct or low frequency alternating current source. Rocks are electrically conductive as consequences of ionic migration in pore space, water are more rarely electronic conductors through metallic minerals. Because metallic cluster minerals typically do not provide long continuous circuit paths for conduction in most rock, Bulk-rock resistivities are almost always controlled by water content and dissolved ionic species present. High porosity causes low resistivity in water-saturated rocks.

Direct current techniques have application to a variety of mineral exploration and geo -environmental considerations related to various ore deposit types. Massive sulfide deposits are a direct low resistivity target, whereas clay alteration assemblages are an indirect low resistivity target within and around many hydrothermal systems. The wide range of earth material resistivities also make the method applicable to identification of lithologies and structures that may control mineralization.

Direct current resistivity method of prospecting was adopted during the period of investigation because of its more diversified nature than many other geophysical methods. Some other electrical  methods such as self potential and telluric currents depend on naturally occurring fields as in magnetic and gravity prospecting, while others depend on artificial fields as in seismic techniques. In DC resistivity method of prospecting, potentials, currents, electromagnetic fields, which may occur naturally or be introduced artificially in the earth, may be measured. The measurements can be made in a variety of ways to determine a variety of results. It is the variation in electrical conductivity (or resistivity) found in different rocks and minerals that makes electrical methods possible .Cardimona,et al ( 2002).

Moreover, many researchers have conducted investigation of groundwater potential using DC resistivity method in different parts of Nigeria and beyond. The occurrence of groundwater in recoverable quantity as well as its circulation in the Precambrian Basement Complex is controlled by geological factors (Olorunfemi and Fasuyi, Amadi and Olasehinde, 2010). Ariyo and Adeyemi (2009) in their study using DC resistivity method upheld that most often, the occurrence of groundwater in the Basement Complex terrain is localized and confined to weathered/fractured zones. Offodile (1983), Mallam and Emenike, (2008) and Amadi, Nwawulu, Unuevho, Okoye, Okunlola, Egharevba, Ako and Alkali, (2011) in their separate studies using DC resistivity method observed that the occurrence of groundwater in many areas is principally in fractures and weathered zones

Hoetzel et al (1995), have carried out research at Al Quwy’yia area dealing with the groundwater recharging source along the shallow and deep aquifer in the eastern and central part of Saudi Arabia. Also, Al-Amri (1996) applied the geoelectrical techniques in delineating the groundwater potentiality in the central part of Saudi Arabia.

1.2       GEOLOGY OF THE STUDY AREA

Ugwulangwu and environs lie between latitude 6º 00̓ N and 6º 05̓ N and longitudes 7º 50̓ E and 7º 55̓ E and cover an area of about 82.35 square kilometers (Ofodile, 1976). It is part of the southern flank of the Abakaliki anticlinorium in the Cross River plains (Ofodile, 1976). The area is adjacent to some important geological features such as brine fields in Uburu- Okposi area and Asu River – which is the type locality for Nigeria’s oldest sedimentary rocks. Ugwulangwu has a mean annual rainfall of 1850 mm/year and a mean annual humidity of over 80% (Iloeje, 1981). The high amount of annual humidity supports the vegetation of the area ranging from savannah grasslands to subtropical rainforests. Topographically, Ugwulangwu and environs has a set of ridges and hills toward the northeastern part, whereas the rest  of the area is low-lying terrain. A lot of geological investigations have been carried out in communities close to the study area. Much of the earlier works were done by Nwachukwu (1972) who investigated the tectonic evolution of the southeastern part of the Benue trough. This led to the discovery of lead-zinc mineralisation in the Albianshales of Asu River Group. Moreso, Nwachukwu (1975) studied the hydrothermal fluids characteristic of the adjacent areas and established that the brine fields in Okposi and Uburu had very high salinity levels more than in any other areas. This attracted more work on the brine fields by Olade (1976); Offodile (1976), Egboka and Uma (1986). Therefore, the aim of their study was to determine the geochemical characteristics of groundwater and surface water bodies of the study area, and to verify whether the chemistry of these water systems have been influenced by the brine fields located in the nearby areas. Further investigation showed that the groundwater of the area occurred in confined aquifers. Some of the aquifers are poorly yielding and occurred in  fine to medium grained sandstones but consolidated. It means that the flow of the groundwater would only be enhanced by interconnecting joints, fractures and weathered part of the underlying rocks. Uma and Loenhert (1992) reported that at Okposi, these confined aquifers yield free flowing wells with a head of 0.7m above the ground surface and a yield of 67ml/hr. From the work of Uma and Loenhert (1992), there is an indication of hydraulic connectivity between the aquifers at Ugwulangwu and Okposi. If there is connectivity, then, it can be expected that the brine fields at Okposi would have influenced water composition at Ugwulangwu.

The study area is located in Ohaozara Local Government area of Ebonyi state as shown in figure 1. It extends from Onicha / Oshiri in the North to Ndioko / Amaenu in the south and from Okposi in west to Ezza / Ukawu in the East. The major roads that traverse the study area includes Abakaliki/Afikpo road to Idembia road to Nkwo market Ugwulangwu, the tarred road from Okposi to Ukawu and untarred road from Okposi through Umuka to Nkwo market and the newly constructed road from market square through the Ohaozara east development center to Oshiri, another from the market square through Okofia to Ezza east. The minor roads includes Nkwo market to Umuigboke, Nkwo market to Amata, Nkwo market to Obiagu Mgbom, Mgbom to Nwafor Abaja Market, Umuka to Amaenu and Nkwo market to Uhuoataru.  The major, minor and foothpaths enable accessibility of outcrops and sample locations.

Fig 1: Location and Accessibility map of Ugwulangwu

            Two main seasons characterizing the study area are rainy season and dry season. The rainy (wet) season extends from April to October which includes a short period of break known as ̋August break̏ , and the dry season last from November to March. These two seasons depend on the prevailing winds blowing over the country at various times of the year; the dry harmattan wind from the Sahara desert and the marine wind from the Atlantic ocean. Therefore, the harmattan wind brings about the dry season, the marine wind causes rainfall. The dry season temperature ranges from 20oC – 38oC and that of the rainy season, 16oC – 28oC, with the average annual rainfall variations from 1750-2000mm (Ezeh and Anike, 2009). Due to climate and the resulting weathering, thick lateritic soils develop. Harmattan sub-season occurs in the middle of the dry season during the month of September and October.  The sub season feature cold and dry (NE) trade wind with maximum temperature of above  270C (Iloeje, 1978).

            According to Ilorje (1978) the study area belongs to the guinea savannah type of vegetation. The vegetation ranges from savannah grasslands to subtropical rainforest which could further be classified as a park land savannah as being described by Igbozurike (1975). The type of vegetation in the area is described as the tropical rain forest. Thus stunted trees and pocket of derelict (abandoned) wood land exist where the lithology has undergone high degree of laterization. In some other places, typical characteristics of the tropical rain forest are displayed; multitude of evergreen trees, climbing plants, parasitic plants which leave on the other plants and creepers are seen. The area is also characterized by a dendritic drainage pattern formed by a network of steams and brooks flowing in different directions.

Fig 2:  The vegetation of the study area

Fig 3: The vegetation of the southeastern Nigeria (Igbozuike, 1975)                       

            The study area is dominated by low relief (plain surface) to moderate relief between 30 and 72 meters above sea level and sharply rising towards Umuigboke.

The mapped area is characterized by trellis drainage pattern. The area is drained by Onufia and Ihiune rivers; all of which are major tributaries of Ebonyi River which is located few kilometers away from the study area [ Figure 4].

Fig 4:The drainage pattern of the study area

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Though groundwater resources are widely distributed, nature does not provide ground water at the places of our choice. The occurrence and distribution of ground water resources are confined to certain geological formations and structures. The groundwater at all locations may not be directly used if the quality of water is poor. All these problems can be solved using proper exploration techniques such as direct current resistivity method which can help in delineating the accurate point or place in which groundwater can be found.

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

Objectives of this project are:

  1. To determine the depth at which groundwater could be obtained in Ugwulangwu.
  2. To determine the resistivity distribution with depth from  surface measurements of the apparent resistivity.
  3. To locate possible and suitable site for productive boreholes in Ugwulangwu.

1.4       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This work covers the detailed study of the lithological aquifer at Ugwulangwu and its environs.

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This work when completed will aid the people in the sinking of boreholes to depth which will obviously provide adequate clean and healthy water for the people of the area.  Moreover, lithological deductions from this study would have both engineering and other hydrogeological applications.                

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