Groundwater nitrate pollution in Souss-Massa basin (south-west Morocco)

The objective of our study was to determine the current status of alluvial aquifer in the Souss-Massa basin, where the nitrate pollution of groundwater is being increasing along the last decades. A multi-approach methodology using hydrogeology, nitrate concentrations, irrigation type and oxygen-18 and deuterium data, was carried out to identify the sources of this pollution. According to the spatial distribution of nitrate contents, nitrate pollution occurs mainly in Chtouka-Massa plain. More than 36% of the sampled wells exceed the value of 50 mg/L as NO3 . Groundwater in Souss plain is less polluted comparing it to Chtouka-Massa; only 7% of wells exceed the permitted level. Agricultural practices in the study sites are the main cause of serious nitrate pollution given the superimposition of high nitrate concentrations with the distribution of irrigated perimeters.