Studying the quality and health risks of groundwater is of great significance for sustainable water resources utilization, especially in arid and semi-arid areas around the world. The current study is carried out to evaluate the quality and potential health risks of groundwater in the Tongchuan area on the Loess Plateau, northwest China. Water quality index (WQI) and hydrochemical correlation analysis were implemented to understand the status of groundwater quality. Daily average exposure dosages through the oral and dermal contact exposure pathways were taken into consideration to calculate the health risks to the human body. Additionally, graphical approaches such as Piper diagram, Durov diagram and GIS mapping were used to help better understand the results of this study. The WQI approach showed that 77.1% of the samples were of excellent quality. The most significant parameters affecting water quality were NO3−
, and Cr6+
. The health risk assessment results showed that 27.1% and 54.2% of the samples lead to non-carcinogenic risks through oral intake for adults and children, respectively. In contrast, 12.5% of the groundwater samples would result in carcinogenic risks to the residents. This study showed that the WQI method needs to be supplemented by a health risk evaluation to obtain comprehensive results for groundwater quality protection and management in the Tongchuan area.
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