Abstract

The stability and safety of tap water are essential for human health and economic and social development. The stable isotopes can be used to reveal characteristics of tap water and link it with its source. In this paper, 1556 tap water samples were collected from Sichuan, China and the stable isotope ratios for these samples were determined. The δ2H ranges from −126.4 ‰ to −26.4 ‰, and the range of δ18O is −17.04 ‰ to −2.08 ‰, reflecting the tap water sources are affected by complex spatial features and changing meteorological elements. Stable isotopes in tap water usually reach the maximum values in summer, indicating that heavy isotope enrichment is easily achievable by the large amount of evaporation from water sources during the summer season. By using spatial interpolation and isoscapes, we can find that there is a strong correlation between both simulated tap water δ2H and river water δ2H, with the maximum difference not exceeding 10.0 ‰, while the overall mean relative error is 6 %. Consequently, it is feasible to use tap water isotopes as a proxy for surface water isotopes in representative watersheds where surface water is the main source of water. The study shows the variation characteristics and influencing factors of tap water isotopes and enriches the isotope database of tap water in China. Meanwhile, the utilize of stable isotopes in tap water as a proxy for surface water expands the application field of tap water stable isotopes and opens new perspectives for indirectly obtaining isotope data of surface water.

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