Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 1 - 50 of 795 results
Title Presenter Name Presenter Surname Area Conference year Keywords

Abstract

The long mining history in Namibia has resulted in numerous abandoned mines scattered throughout the country. Past research around the Klein Aub abandoned Copper mine highlighted environmental concerns related to past mining. Considering that residents of Klein Aub depend solely on groundwater, there is a need to thoroughly investigate groundwater quality in the area to ascertain the extent of the contamination. This study made considerable effort to characterise groundwater quality using a comprehensive approach of quality assessment and geostatistical analysis. Onsite parameters reveal that pH ranges between 6.82-7.8, electrical conductivity ranges between 678 - 2270 μS/cm, and dissolved oxygen ranges between 1.4 -5.77 mg/L. With an exemption of two samples, the onsite parameters indicate that water is of excellent quality according to the Namibian guidelines. The stable isotopic composition ranges from −7.26 to -5.82‰ and −45.1 to -35.9‰ for δ18O and δ2H, respectively—the groundwater plots on and above the Global Meteoric Water Line, implying no evaporation effect. Hydrochemical analyses show bicarbonate and chloride as dominant anions, while calcium and sodium are dominant cations, indicating groundwater dissolving halite and mixing with water from a recharge zone.

The heavy metal pollution index of the groundwater is far below the threshold value of 100, which signals pollution; it contrasts the heavy metal evaluation index, which clustered around 3, implying that the heavy metals moderately affected groundwater. Copper, lead and Arsenic were the main contributors to the values of the indices.

Abstract

The basis of a hydrogeological conceptual model is the comprehensive characterisation of the groundwater system. This ranges from discrete hydraulic feature analysis to local-scale testing to integrated regional-scale aquifer system conceptualisation. Interdisciplinary data integration is critical to each level of characterisation to gain a realistic, yet simplified representation of the hydrogeological system based on various data sources. Incorporation of geological datasets, including (but not limited to) structural and lithological mapping, geotechnical core logs and geophysical surveys, in conjunction with a tailored selection of hydraulic testing techniques, are often underutilised by hydrogeologists. Yet, the contribution of these alternative hydraulic datasets cannot be overstated.

A recent hydrogeological assessment and feasibility study forming part of the planned expansion project for a base-metal mine in the Northern Cape, South Africa, offers an ideal, practical example. The localised nature of the project area and the inherently complex geological setting required a more detailed conceptual model and hydrostratigraphic domaining approach. Highly heterogeneous stratigraphy and strong structural aquifer controls necessitated characterisation by reviewing, testing and analysing various datasets. Exploratory core datasets, hydraulic aquifer tests, geological and downhole geophysical datasets, and statistical Rock Quality Designation—hydraulic conductivity relationships were interpreted to produce meaningful, refined hydraulic process identifications. A comprehensive local groundwater framework, discretised into various hydrostratigraphic units and structural domains with specified hydraulic parameters, was incorporated to provide a novel, more robust conceptual understanding of the unique hydrogeological system.

Abstract

Water scarcity has driven many countries in arid regions, such as Oman, to desalinate seawater for freshwater supply. Episodic problems with seawater quality (e.g., harmful algae), extreme weather events that affect energy supply and hence the desalination process have nurtured the urgent need to store desalinated seawater (DSW) in the aquifers for use during emergency and peak demand time. Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) using injection wells is a possible strategic option for Oman Water and Wastewater Services Company (OWWSC) to augment aquifer storage using excess desalinated water during low demand times. ASR strategically serves as a water supply backup to optimize production capacities against seasonal demand patterns. The technical-economic feasibility of implementing ASR schemes was investigated in Jaalan, Oman, using hydrogeological and geophysical field measurements, groundwater flow and hydraulic modelling, and economic analysis. Analysis of modelled scenarios results revealed that the Jaalan aquifer is suitable for storing and recovering about 4,000 m3 /hr in 2045. Various well field designs have been tested and optimized numerically using MODFLOW 6, showing that with 160 dual-purpose wells, 7.9 Mm3 can be injected and abstracted within the constraints defined for a robust and sustainable ASR system. Simulations with the density-dependent flow model (MF6 BUY) show that the injected volume can be fully recovered considering the drinking water quality standard. Other sites were also studied. ASR capacity was found to be site-specific, and the groundwater developments near the ASR site governed its feasibility

Abstract

Degradation of chloroethene in groundwater primarily occurs via microbially-mediated reductive dechlorination (RD). Anaerobic organohalide-respiring bacteria (OHRB) use chloroethenes as electron acceptors to gain energy. They produce reductive dehalogenase enzymes (RDases) to perform this function by transcription of functional genes into mRNA and translation to proteins (metabolic regulation). However, how hydrodynamics and hydrogeochemistry control the metabolic efficiency of OHRB in biodegrading chloroethene is essential for effective bioremediation design yet an under-investigated topic. For this reason, we implemented a virtual experiment (1D reactive transport model) to investigate the effects of site conditions on transcription-translation and, hence, biodegradation processes within chloroethene plumes. In the model, RD was simulated using Enzyme-Based Kinetics, explicitly mimicking the production of RDases via metabolic regulation, calibrated on microcosm experimental data gained from literature. Features of an actual contaminated site (Grindsted, Denmark) were then used to set up the virtual experiment. Here, chloroethene leaked from a former pharmaceutical factory migrates through a sandy aquifer and gets discharged into the Grindsted stream. Preliminary results show that substrate (electron donors) limiting conditions caused by competing electron acceptors and dispersion and high flow rates represent the key factors controlling biodegradation via RDase production.

Abstract

The geochemical study of deep aquitard water in the southern Golan-Heights (GH), Israel, reveals the complex paleo-hydrological history affected by the intensive tectonic activity of the Dead Sea Rift (DSR). The sampled water collected from new research boreholes exhibits relatively high salinities (2,000-10,000 mg Cl/L), low Na/Cl ((HCO3 +SO4 )). δ18OV-SMOW and δDV-SMOW values are relatively depleted (~-7‰ and ~-42‰, respectively), while 87Sr/86Sr ratios are enriched compared to the host rocks. Lagoonary brines with similar characteristics (excluding the water isotopic compositions) are known to exist along the DSR. These brines formed 10-5 Ma ago from seawater that transgressed into the DSR and subsequently underwent evaporation, mineral precipitation and water-rock interactions. These hypersaline brines intruded into the rocks surrounding the DSR and based on the current study, also extended as far as the southern GH. Further, following their subsurface intrusion into the GH, the brines have been gradually diluted by isotopically depleted freshwater, leaving only traces of brines nowadays. The depleted isotopic composition suggests that the groundwater system is recharged at high elevations in the north. It is also shown that variable hydraulic conductivities in different formations controlled the dilution rates and subsequently the preservation of the entrapped brines. The paleo-hydrological reconstruction presented here shows that the flow direction has reversed over time. Brines that initially intruded from the rift have since been gradually flushed back to the rift by younger fresh groundwater.

Abstract

Groundwater is a strategic long-term water resource used by an estimated 70% of the populations in sub-Saharan Africa for drinking, irrigation and a wide range of economic activities. Understanding groundwater recharge processes is key for effectively using and managing water resources. Very few studies have used direct groundwater observations to assess the impact of different farming systems on groundwater recharge processes. This study focused on assessing basement aquifer recharge in 4 instrumented catchments in Malawi (Chitedze), Zambia (Liempe and Kabeleka) and Zimbabwe (Domboshawa) within the SADC region between 2019-2022. Employing a range of methods, including direct field observations (groundwater hydrographs, precipitation data, stable isotopes, chloride mass balance and residence time tracer data), we quantify the amount of groundwater recharge as well as the timing and nature of recharge processes under both conservation and conventional tillage systems in these four study sites. Groundwater recharge was measured in most years across the study sites. The study reveals the strong climate controls on seasonal groundwater recharge volumes, the influence of low permeability layers in the unsaturated zone, and the likely magnitude of impact from different farming practices. Groundwater residence times are high (i.e. low fractions of modern recharge, interquartile range 1-5%, n=46), even in shallow piezometers, suggesting these unpumped systems may be highly stratified. The results provide an evidence-based suite of data that reveals much about key controls on groundwater recharge in basement aquifers in sub-humid drylands and will inform the development and management of such groundwater systems.

Abstract

Groundwater systems are complex and subject to climate change, abstraction, and land use stresses, making quantifying their impacts on aquifers difficult. Groundwater models aim to balance abstraction and aquifer sustainability by simulating the responses of an aquifer to hydrological stresses through groundwater levels. However, these models require extensive spatial data on geological and hydrological properties, which can be challenging to obtain. To address this issue, data-driven machine learning models are used to predict and optimize groundwater levels using available data. This paper argues that using machine learning to model groundwater level data improves predicting and optimizing groundwater levels for setting up a managed aquifer recharge scheme. The West Coast Aquifer System in South Africa was used as a case study. The neural network autoregression model was used for the analysis. Multiple variables such as rainfall, temperature, and groundwater usage were input parameters in the mode to facilitate predictions. Outputs from the model showed how machine learning models can enhance the interpretation of observed and modelled results on groundwater levels to support groundwater monitoring and utilization. In areas with high dependence on groundwater and where data on abstraction (use) and monitoring were scarce, results showed that feasible measures were available to improve groundwater security. Although the simulation results were inconclusive, the results provided insights into how the use of machine learning can provide information to inform setting up a managed aquifer recharge scheme.

Abstract

The Natural Background Level (NBL) of contaminants in groundwater is typically determined using regional-scale monitoring networks or site-specific studies. However, regional scale values are limited in their ability to capture natural heterogeneities that affect contaminant mobility at smaller scales, potentially leading to local over- or underestimation of the natural contaminant concentration. Conversely, site-specific studies can be expensive and time-consuming, with limited use outside the specified case study. To overcome this issue, a study was conducted in a 2600 km2 area, analyzing arsenic concentration values from monitoring networks of sites under remediation as an alternative source of information. The main drawbacks of the alternative dataset were the lack of information on monitoring procedures at the remediation sites or potential anthropogenic influences on the concentration data. However, these limitations were adequately managed with a thorough data pre-treatment procedure informed by a conceptual model of the study area. The NBLs estimated with the alternative dataset were more reliable than that from the regional monitoring network, which, in the worst case (i.e., in the area with the highest geological and geochemical heterogeneity), the NBL of one order of magnitude was underestimated. As a future step, the project seeks to incorporate geological and geochemical heterogeneities as secondary variables in a geostatistical analysis to produce a continuous distribution of arsenic concentrations at the mesoscale. This would provide a useful tool for managing contaminated sites and a reproducible protocol for NBL derivation in different areas, overcoming the scale issue.

Abstract

The abstract presents a 2D modelling approach alternative to a 3D variable saturated groundwater model of solute or heat transport at the regional scale. We use FEFLOW to represent processes in the saturated zone, coupled with various models describing the unsaturated zone. The choice of the latter depends on modelling needs, i.e. simulation of the movement of seepage water and nitrate fate with respect to crop rotation patterns and dynamic characteristics of heat gradients, respectively. The flexibility of coupling specialized models of different subsurface compartments provides the opportunity to investigate the effects of land use changes on groundwater characteristics, considering the relevant drivers in sufficient detail, which is important in regions with intensive anthropogenic activities. The coupling can be operated either with (direct coupling) or without (sequential coupling) including the feedback between the saturated and the unsaturated zones depending on the depth of the groundwater table below the surface. Thus, the approach allows for reasonable computational times. The Westliches Leibnitzer Feld aquifer in Austria (43 km²; Klammler et al., 2013; Rock and Kupfersberger, 2018) will be presented as an example highlighting the needed input data, the modelling workflow and the validation against measurements.

Abstract

Modern societies rely heavily on subsurface resources and need open access to accurate and standardized scientific digital data that describe the subsurface’s infrastructure and geology, including the distribution of local and regional aquifers up to a depth of five kilometres. These data are essential for assessing and reducing climate change’s impact and enabling the green transition. Digital maps, 3D and 4D models of the subsurface are necessary to investigate and address issues such as groundwater quality and quantity, flood and drought impacts, renewable geo-energy solutions, availability of critical raw materials, resilient city planning, carbon capture and storage, disaster risk assessment and adaptation, and protection of groundwater-dependent terrestrial and associated aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. For over a decade, EuroGeoSurveys, the Geological Surveys of Europe, has been working on providing harmonized digital European subsurface data through the European Geological Data Infrastructure, EGDI.

These data are invaluable for informed decision-making and policy implementation regarding the green transition, Sustainable Development Goals, and future Digital Twins in earth sciences. The database is continuously developed and improved in collaboration with relevant stakeholders to meet societal needs and facilitate sustainable, secure, and integrated management of sometimes competing uses of surface and subsurface resources.

Abstract

Groundwater level monitoring is essential for assessing groundwater’s availability, behaviour and trend. Associated with a modelling tool, groundwater level fluctuations can be predicted in the short to middle term using precipitation probabilities or meteorological forecasts. This is the purpose of the MétéEAU Nappes tool implemented by BRGM for the City of Cape Town (CoCT) in the Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMGA). This case study shows how near real-time groundwater level monitoring can support the municipality in managing its future groundwater withdrawals. The TMGA is an important source of groundwater in the Western Cape region of South Africa. The upper Nardouw Sub-Aquifer of the TMGA is an unconfined aquifer recharged by rainfall. It had been monitored in the Steenbras area for over 10 years before CoCT started groundwater production from the Steenbras wellfield in 2021. The MétéEAU Nappes forecasting tool is already implemented on many observation wells of the French national piezometric network, where it is used for decision-making by the French administration. It allows, in particular, to anticipate several threshold levels of drought and take appropriate measures. It combines real-time water cycle measurement data with a groundwater level lumped model (e.g. Gardenia model) and extrapolates observations for the next 6 months from statistical meteorological scenarios completed with abstraction scenarios. This tool can help protect the Steenbras wellfield as a critical water source for CoCT in the TMGA. This study was financed by the French Agency for Development (AFD).

Abstract

This paper presents the results of groundwater flow modelling studies that were conducted within the scope of the PRIMA RESERVOIR project. The project’s main goal is to develop an innovative methodology to mitigate land subsidence due to excessive groundwater exploitation in water-stressed Mediterranean watersheds. This objective is achieved by integrating earth-observation-derived land subsidence rates with a coupled implementation of numerical groundwater flow and geomechanical modelling. MODFLOWbased 3-D transient flow models were constructed for the four pilot sites (the coastland of Comacchio in Italy, the Alto Guadalentín aquifer in Spain, the Gediz River basin alluvial aquifer in Turkiye and the Azraq basin in Jordan) that have different hydrogeological properties and pose different challenges concerning water management. Models were calibrated and run for similar simulation periods (2013-2021) to obtain hydraulic head drawdowns and changes in groundwater storage. Land subsidence at these sites was evaluated using Advanced Differential Radar Interferometry (A-DInSAR) on image stacks from the Sentinel-1 satellite. Subsidence rates were then compared to hydraulic head drawdown rates to identify groundwater pumping-induced subsidence areas. The comparison for all study areas suggested that locations of maximum displacements do not necessarily coincide with areas that display the largest head drawdown calculated by the flow models. Other triggering factors, such as the thickness of compressible materials, are also related to high subsidence areas.

Abstract

Recent advances in groundwater dating provide valuable information about groundwater recharge rates and groundwater velocities that inform groundwater sustainability and management. This talk presents a range of groundwater residence time indicators (85Kr, CFCS 14C, 81Kr, 36Cl and 4 He) combined with analytical and numerical models to unravel sustainability parameters. Our study site is the southwestern Great Artesian Basin of Australia where we study an unconfined confined aquifer system that dates groundwater from modern times up to 400 kyr BP. The study area is arid with a rainfall of <200 mm/yr and evaporation in the order of 3 m/yr. Despite these arid conditions we observe modern recharge rates in the order of 400 mm/yr. This occurs via rapid ephemeral recharge beneath isolated riverbeds where the sandstone aquifer directly outcrops. Groundwater dating and stable isotopes of the water molecule indicates that this recharge comes from monsoonal activity in the north of the continent that travel some 1500 kms. Furthermore, this is restricted to recharge in the Holocene.as we move down the hydraulic gradient groundwater “ages” increase and recharge rates dramatically decrease by orders of magnitude. We conclude that there has been a significant decline in monsoonal precipitation and hence recharge in the deserts of central Australia over this time. We present a couple environmental numerical model that describes how to estimate temporal recharge rates and estimates of hydraulic conductivity from groundwater age data that can be used for groundwater management.

Abstract

The interactions between groundwater and the sewerage networks of the Lens-Liévin urban communities, located in the north of France, locally lead to non-compliance in the operation of the network and the wastewater treatment plants, questioning the city’s economic development policy. Indeed, the infiltration of groundwater inflow in the sewerage network could be the cause. Based on the piezometric measurements carried out in 2022, the surface elevation of the groundwater table is carried out using a kriging approach. The comparison of altitudes between network position and piezometry made it possible to identify the pipes most at risk of the infiltration of groundwater inflow and correspond to those indicated as non-compliant by network managers according to the national decree. Outside this period, the network vulnerability indicators are defined based on simulated piezometry by a 3D hydrodynamic model of the chalky hydrosystem (MARTHE code) established in a transient state. For two past extreme situations, the network would have been flooded at 1.20% in the dry period (1997) and up to 8.30% in the wet period (2001), highlighting the existence of a part of the network systematically flooded. Using the hydrodynamic model according to different prospective scenarios makes it possible to anticipate the actions deployed on the network to guide management and adaptation solutions. However, a modelling methodology that considers the feedback between the dynamics of the groundwater and the flows passing through the networks remains to be developed.

Abstract

Water resources worldwide are stressed, and the number of groundwater professionals required to manage those resources is not being generated in sufficient numbers. Groundwater educational resources must be placed in schools to generate excitement and raise awareness. Additionally, people entering the workforce need training throughout their professional careers. Oklahoma State University partnered with the U.S. National Ground Water Association to develop a framework for providing education and training programs in groundwater that allow for interactive online education at all levels. The Awesome Aquifer 360 program targets grades 5-8, allowing students to conceptually explore aquifers and the people who manage them. The Drilling Basics Online program provides a 40-hour basic safety and drilling training to recruit professionals into the groundwater industry and reinforce safe operations. These programs and future plans for the technique will be discussed.

Abstract

The current understanding of groundwater within the larger Bushveld Complex (BC) is evaluated to gauge the potential for deep groundwater, specifically emphasising the lesser investigated eastern limb. From the review of publicly available literature and data, geohydrological databases and statistical analyses are presented as a collation of the current understanding of groundwater in the eastern limb of the BC. Unfortunately, information on deep groundwater (> 300 m) is scarce due to the cost associated with deep drilling, mining exploration holes often neglecting hydrogeological data collection, or lack of public access to this information. Nevertheless, the conceptual model developed from the available information highlights deep groundwater’s variable and structurally controlled nature and the uncertainty associated with groundwater characterisation of the deeper groundwater systems. This uncertainty supports the need for research-based scientific drilling of the deeper fractured lithologies in the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex. The Bushveld Complex Drilling Project (BVDP) established an opportunity to perform such research-based drilling and was funded by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP). While the main focus of the BVDP is to produce a continuous vertical stratigraphic sequence of the BC, there is a sub-component to collect geohydrological information. The planned borehole, 2 500 m deep, will provide an opportunity to collect information from the deeper systems within the Bushveld Complex and the underlying Transvaal Supergroup, which will inform on the connection between shallow and deeper groundwater.

Abstract

This research aims to evaluate the carbon storage function of a Mediterranean peatland in changing climate conditions. The scientific strategy relies on a seasonal geochemical survey sourcing the carbon origin by considering the hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. This unprecedented research on a Mediterranean peatland reveals the seasonality of dissolved carbon inputs from primary production, organic matter oxidation, and time-changing recharge components within the catchment (rainwater, river water, shallow groundwater, deep groundwater). Based on the mixing proportions of all recharge water components, the study applies a reverse end-member mixing analysis to define the theoretical peat water d13CDIC value and compare it to the measured ones. The model explains 65 % of the data, demonstrating the water flow influence on peatland carbon content. In 35% of the cases, peatland processes such as primary production and organic matter oxidation drive the peat water’s carbon content. Peat organic and inorganic properties, d13CTOC, and d13CCO2 data demonstrate the role of groundwater as a CO2 source and the dominance of in situ primary production that argues in favour of carbon storage within such Mediterranean peatland. This research proves the relevance of geochemistry and isotope hydrology tools to disentangle and rank peatland water and carbon processes within peatland hydro-ecosystems. Overall, it reveals the necessity to take into account the interactions between water and carbon cycle processes, with particular consideration for groundwater as a CO2 source at the peatland-atmosphere interface, to build better models for the future evolution of the global climate.

Abstract

The Lower Berg River Aquifer System, situated in the Western Cape province of South Africa, is important to the towns that overlay it, as they rely on the aquifer for water supply, which supplements industrial development and residential growth. This aquifer system is important because surface water resources in the area are finite and fully allocated. Despite studies on the Lower Berg River Aquifer System since 1976, knowledge of the geological layers, recharge and discharge areas, and groundwater flow paths remain limited. This study aimed to provide greater insight and understanding of the aquifer to assist in better management. Investigations included a Time Domain Electromagnetic airborne geophysical survey, the assessment of groundwater levels, infiltration tests, hydrochemical analyses, and stable and radioactive isotope analyses. These methods allowed for the identification of the aquifer’s layers and extent, determination of water quality in different parts of the aquifer, delineation of flow paths through the saturated and unsaturated zones, identification of inter-aquifer flow, as well as different modes of recharge.

Abstract

Sand mining in southern Africa is on the rise, fuelled largely by rapid urbanisation. This creates a range of societal and biophysical challenges and supports livelihoods in regions with high unemployment. Relevant scientific studies are scarce. This study explores the impacts of sand mining from ephemeral rivers on Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique communities through field visits, interviews, modelling, remote sensing and legislative analysis. What was expected to be a hydrogeology project focussing on water resources identified a broader range of issues that should be considered. Initial results uncovered a range of negative biophysical impacts, including alteration of hydrological regimes, which in turn affect groundwater recharge and exacerbate drought and flood risks, destruction of riparian vegetation, increased erosion, damage to infrastructure (including bridges and roads), reduced water quality, and the spread of invasive plant species. Equally important are the range of social impacts, such as drowning people and livestock, loss of agricultural land, increased traffic, dust, noise and crime. Complex governance arrangements influence these social and environmental challenges. The findings highlight the need to adopt an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach that considers linkages between human and natural systems. This approach is essential for finding sustainable solutions for the provision of construction materials that limit detrimental impacts on water resources, ecosystems and livelihoods. 

Abstract

Shallow groundwater dynamics play a crucial role in wetland ecosystems and are key to climate change resilience. Therefore, conserving and restoring wetland areas requires excellent knowledge of groundwater flow dynamics, which are often rapidly changing following extreme weather events and anthropogenic impacts such as groundwater extraction. Traditional methods to estimate groundwater flow require extensive modelling or rely on point measurements, missing the effect of crucial short-term events and impeding quick actions to conserve the wetlands’ ecohydrological status. Here, we present a newly developed sensor that can measure real-time groundwater flow velocity and direction. The sensor probe consists of two bidirectional flow sensors that are superimposed. It is installed in a dedicated pre-pack filter and can measure a broad range of groundwater flow velocities from 0.5 cm/ day to 2000 cm/day. With an IoT (Internet of Things) system, sensor data is wirelessly transmitted and visualized in real-time on an online dashboard. In addition, we show a selection of results from a case study in the Biebrza National Park (Poland) and a nature reserve in Damme (Belgium). In both ecosystems, we could capture changes in groundwater flow velocity and direction resulting from precipitation and evapotranspiration events. As such, we are confident that our sensors provide new insights into rapidly changing groundwater dynamics and will become an invaluable tool in ecohydrological studies worldwide, ultimately leading to more integrated management strategies to protect and conserve remaining wetlands.

Abstract

Aquifer test analysis is complex, and in many regards, the interpretation resembles an art more than a science. Under the best circumstances, aquifer test analysis is still plagued by ambiguity and uncertainty, compounded by the general lack of information on the subsurface. An approach which has seen widespread adoption in other fields that need to classify time series data is machine learning. A Python script that generates numerical groundwater flow models by interfacing directly with the modelling software produces training data for deep learning. Production yielded 3,220 models of aquifer tests with varying hydrogeological conditions, including fracture, no-flow and recharge boundary geometries. Post-processing exports the model results, and the Bourdet derivative is plotted and labelled for image classification. The image classifier is constructed as a simple three-layer convolutional neural network, with ReLU as the activation function and stochastic gradient descent as the optimizer. The dataset provided sufficient examples for the model to obtain over 99% accuracy in identifying the complexities present inside the numerical model. The classification of groundproofing data illustrates the model’s effectiveness while supporting synthetically prepared data using modern groundwater modelling software.

Abstract

Coastal groundwater is a vulnerable resource, estimated to sustain the water needs of about 40% of the world’s population. The Roussillon aquifer is a regional aquifer near Perpignan (southern France). It covers over 800 km2 of land and is used for irrigation, drinking water, and industrial purposes. The aquifer has experienced significant piezometric lowering in the last decades, weakening the regional resource. An important aspect of modelling the hydrodynamic of this aquifer is the need to integrate data from agriculture and drinking water abstraction, natural and anthropogenic recharge, and account for the aquifer’s complex sedimentary arrangement. An ensemble of groundwater models has been constructed to understand the spatial evolution of the saline/freshwater interface and evaluate the impact of groundwater abstraction.

Three sets of physical parameter modelling approaches were used. The first is based on the direct interpolation of pumping tests. The second uses sequential indicator simulations to represent the geological uncertainty. The third is based on a detailed conceptual geological model and multiple-point statistics to represent the detailed geological structure. These models provide parameter fields that can be input for the transient state hydrodynamic simulations. Overall, the ensemble approach allowed us to understand the Roussillon plain’s hydrological system better and quantify the uncertainty on the possible evolution of the main groundwater fluxes and water resources over the last 20 years. These models can help to inform management decisions and support sustainable water resource development in the region.

Abstract

Groundwater quantity and quality of shallow aquifers have deteriorated in recent years due to rapid development that has created an increased demand for drinking water, which is increasingly being fulfilled by groundwater abstraction. The study evaluates the hydrogeological framework of the Quaternary aquifer of the Kabul basin, Afghanistan, and the impact of urbanization on the groundwater resources around the Kabul city plain. Time series of Landsat satellite LCLU images indicate that the urban area increased by 40% between 2000 and 2020, while the agricultural area decreased by 32% and bare land decreased from about 67% to 52% during this period. The assumed groundwater overdraft 2019 was 301.4×103 m3 /day, while the recharge was 153.4×103 m3 /day, meaning a negative balance of about 54 million cubic meters (MCM) this year. Due to the long-term decline of water levels at 80 90 cm/year, and locally (Khairkhana, Dasht-e-Barchi) 30-50m during 2005-2019, a considerable groundwater drawdown is shown. Groundwater quality, on the other hand, reveals that chloride concentrations and salinity increased throughout the aquifer between 2005 and 2020. The nitrate concentration decreased in most Kabul Plain places over the period. In conclusion, the quantity and quality situation of urban groundwater in Kabul is worrying; urgent scientific and sustainable solutions and measures should be considered to manage this situation.

Abstract

Hermanus was originally supplied from springs and groundwater until the De Bos Dam was built in the 1950s. Due to increasing water demand, the municipality commenced wellfield development in 2002. The first wellfield comprised 3 boreholes, of which one borehole was later decommissioned due to reduced yield. Three additional boreholes were drilled recently to ensure abstraction capacity within the licence limits. A second wellfield was developed in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley north of Hermanus. To ensure the sustainable management of the shared resource and minimise environmental impacts, a monitoring committee was established with all relevant roleplayers, other users, civil society, environmental groups and various commenting and regulatory authorities. A comprehensive monitoring network was established to assist with the scheme’s management and ensure that environmental impacts are minimized. The long-term monitoring (up to 20 years) shows that the groundwater abstraction from the Gateway Wellfield does not impact the environment and other users or increase the risk of saline intrusion. Identified impacts have been mitigated with the assistance of the monitoring committee. The municipality aims to provide at least half of the town’s water demand from groundwater and establish conjunctive use operation between surface water from the De Bos Dam and groundwater from these wellfields. The wellfields ensured sufficient water for the municipality when De Bos Dam’s water levels declined significantly during the Western Cape droughts in 2011 and 2017. The presentation will provide examples of the long-term monitoring records and trends.

Abstract

With the revision of the European Drinking Water Directive (Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption 2020/2184) in December 2020, the preparation of Water Safety Plans (WSP) is foreseen according to the guidelines of WHO. Within the EU Interreg Adrion MUHA project, a decision support tool (DST) has been developed to provide a holistic approach to drinking water infrastructure risk analysis. The project mainly addresses four water-related risks: accidental pollution, floods, droughts and earthquakes. The core of the DST is the inventory of hazardous events (causes, their consequences and impacts) for each component of the drinking water supply chain: (1) drinking water source - catchment area, (2) water supply system, and (3) domestic distribution system. For each identified potential hazard, the type of hazard was determined (e.g., biological, chemical, radiological, or physical hazard (including turbidity), inadequate availability of water supplied to customers, safety to personnel, external harm to third parties, including liability). The DST was tested in the partner countries (Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece) to verify the resilience of the measures and elaborate the WSP.

In the end, the REWAS-ADRION strategy was elaborated, aiming to increase the resilience of drinking water supplies to floods, droughts, accidental pollution, and earthquake-related failures by improving the water safety planning mechanism based on the concept of inter-agency cooperation to support water utilities, civil protection organizations, and water authorities.

Abstract

Having knowledge of spatiotemporal groundwater recharge is crucial for optimizing regional water management practices. However, the lack of consistent ground hydrometeorological data at regional and global scales has led to the use of alternative proxies and indicators to estimate impacts on groundwater recharge, enabling effective management of future water resources. This study explores the impact of land use changes and wildfires on groundwater recharge at a regional scale in Bolivia, using an alternative indicator to estimate variations in groundwater recharge rates. Based on a study by de Freitas L. in 2021, the methodology developed the annual groundwater recharge reduction rate (RAPReHS) utilizing remotely sensed data from the FLDAS and TERRACLIMATE datasets. The RAPReHS employs a simplified version of the water balance equation, estimating direct vertical groundwater recharge by considering the difference between precipitation, evapotranspiration, and runoff. The methodology was upscaled to improve data processing and analysis efficiency using an open-source cloud-computing platform (Google Earth Engine) over a 20-year period. The first results reveal a strong correlation between decreasing groundwater recharge rates and natural vegetation in the eastern region. By utilizing the RAPReHS index, forest preservation strategies can be prioritized. This study is in the framework of SDG 13 (Climate Action), which aims to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment and society. By exploring the impact of land use changes and wildfires on groundwater recharge at a regional scale in Bolivia, this research contributes to the inclusion of groundwater in policy guidelines for sustainable water management

Abstract

Groundwater quality and groundwater sample representativeness depend on the integrity of the water supply and monitoring wells. Well-integrity issues can occur by improper placement of grout seals behind the protective casing and/or by improper backfilling processes between ports. Multi-level monitoring systems are becoming common in the industry, providing depth-discrete groundwater samples and hydraulic head data from a single borehole. However, isolation between the monitoring intervals can be challenging when backfilled methods are used. No independent verification method exists to confirm seal placement for isolating monitoring intervals in such multi-level wells. A new approach using a hybrid fibre optic cable for adding heat, referred to as Active Distributed Temperature Sensing (A-DTS), is deployed in the annular space of a backfilled multi-level well. This new method is used to quantify the position of bentonite used as seals and sand packs that define the monitoring interval lengths and to identify issues associated with backfilling. A-DTS data from three boreholes with back-filled multilevel systems to 85 mbgs in a dolostone aquifer in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, demonstrates clear boundaries between backfill materials. In one interval, a deviation in the thermal data suggests a bridge in the bentonite seal, and this interval coincides with challenges in the backfilling from the field notes. The proposed method verifies well completion details, is repeatable and provides an efficient and effective way to assess well integrity impacting measurement uncertainty in a range of well types.

Abstract

Globally, losses of excess nitrogen (N) from agriculture are affecting our air and water quality. This is a well-known environmental threat and is caused by food production for an ever-growing population. Since the 1980s, many European countries, such as Denmark, have successfully combatted N pollution in the aquatic environment by regulating and introducing national agricultural one-size-fits-all mitigation measures. However, further reduction of the N load is still required to meet the demands of, e.g., the EU water directives. Scientifically and politically, implementing additional targeted N regulation of agriculture is a way forward. A comprehensive Danish groundwater and modelling concept has been developed to produce high-resolution groundwater N retention maps showing the potential for natural denitrification in the subsurface. The concept’s implementation aims to make future targeted N regulation successful environmentally and economically. Quaternary deposits, formed by a wide range of glacial processes and abundant in many parts of the world, often have a very complex geological and geochemical architecture. The results show that the subsurface complexity of these geological settings in selected Danish catchments results in large local differences in groundwater N retention. This indicates a high potential for targeted N regulation at the field scale. A prioritization tool is presented that has been developed for cost-efficient implementation at a national level to select promising areas for targeted N regulation.

Abstract

Prevention of threats to the quality and quantity of groundwater supply is critical to ensure its sustainability. Several African studies have shown that contamination of aquifers is primarily caused by improper placement of land-based human activities. Therefore, adequate preventative measures are required to safeguard the water quality of African aquifers to avoid long-term deterioration. Spatially explicit, 3D numerical groundwater modelling is a common methodology to assess contaminant transport. However, model development is time-consuming and complex. Contrastingly, DRASTIC-L is a 2D, GIS-based aquifer vulnerability mapping technique. The method is simple to apply, but analyses are qualitative and subjective. The study aims to compare both methods and to combine their strengths using GIS overlay. Overall, aquifer vulnerability was determined using the DRASTIC-L method, while wellhead protection areas were delineated using steady-state numerical modelling. This study focuses on the Cape Flats area due to its rapid development and growing municipal water supply supplementation needs. DRASTIC-L mapping revealed that aquifers in the Cape Flats are highly vulnerable to contamination due to the region’s unconfined hydrogeological properties, shallow water table and high-risk land use types. Moreover, groundwater vulnerability mapping combined with the delineation of wellhead protection areas allows for reduced uncertainty in the contamination potential of delineated groundwater protection zones. As a result, this study highlights the need for overall resource protection of the Cape Flats aquifers and provides insights into mapping out potential source protection areas of existing water supply wells.

Abstract

Emerging contaminants (e.g. pharmaceuticals or pesticides) are increasingly detected in aquatic environments. The most apparent contamination source of river water pollution by pharmaceuticals is sewage treatment plant stations that discharge treated sewage effluent to the rivers. The river bank filtration systems (RBF) can effectively remove these contaminants. The two RBF sites were examined for pharmaceuticals: Śrem and Gorzów waterworks. The water samples for pharmaceuticals investigation were taken from the river and four continuously pumped wells at each site. Two wells near the river were chosen at each site (40-50 m) and two at a greater distance from the river (70 m in Śrem and 110 m in Gorzów). A visible increase in pharmaceutical concentrations was observed along the river. The sum of pharmaceuticals concentration is 8151 ng/l in Śrem (upstream), while in Gorzów (downstream) concentration is 9142 ng/l. A very big differentiation in pharmaceutical occurrence was observed. In Śrem, the sum of pharmaceuticals concentration is between 657 and 3290 ng/l, while in Gorzów, despite the higher concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the river, these substances were detected only in one well located at a close distance from the river (two substances at a concentration of 92 ng/l).

The research proves a very big differentiation of pharmaceutical concentration even on sites located at similar hydrogeological conditions and demonstrates the necessity of its monitoring, especially in groundwater strongly influenced by river water contamination (like at RBF sites). This work has received funding from the National Science Centre Poland (grant no. 2021/41/B/ST10/00094).

Abstract

The Geneva aquifer is internationally recognized for its transboundary resource management agreement between Switzerland and France, described as the first groundwater management agreement in the world. Signed in 1978 and renewed in 2008, this agreement on managing a shared underground resource has long been an example for establishing other agreements worldwide, particularly by UNESCO and its hydrological program via the TBA commission of the IAH. Like many countries worldwide, Switzerland and France experienced a critical summer of 2022 concerning the use of water resources, both surface and underground. The system applied in the cross-border agreement for using the aquifer involves French participation in the costs of managing aquifer recharge (MAR), depending on the total pumping. It shows that the French part, having consumed more water to compensate for the extreme drought of 2022, has seen its bills increase considerably. Development plans show that the population of Greater Geneva will increase considerably by 2030-2040, requiring significant medium-term water availability (30% additional water). Therefore, the French institutions’ political leaders have formally asked the authorities of the canton of Geneva to review the conditions linked to the quotas and calculation methods included in the 2008 agreement. A new agreement could be a real example of positive cross-border coordination for decision-makers finding themselves in a blocked or even conflicting situation due to differences in managing a shared resource revived by the effects of climate change.

Abstract

Groundwater is the most important source of potable water in rural areas of Acholiland, a sub-region of northern Uganda. Installation of handpumps has been the focus of local government and international aid to provide safe drinking water in Uganda. However, non-functional handpumps are one reason for the abandonment of groundwater resources. For handpumps to be sustainable for years, appropriate siting and construction is required, as well as monitoring. This is common knowledge to specialists working in rural supply, but gaps in knowledge transfer and field skills may exist for the persons installing and maintaining handpump wells. This is a case study of a ten-day field campaign designed to train local participants who actively work in the rural groundwater supply sector. Nine non-functional handpump sites were identified for repair and hydrogeology and geophysical studies. A non-governmental organization, IsraAID, along with Gulu University implemented training by hydrogeology specialists to build local capacity. The training included handpump functionality tests, downhole inspections, electrical resistivity tomography surveys, and water quality sampling, including a novel Escherichia coli test that did not require an incubator. Functionality tests and downhole inspections provided simple but effective ways to assess handpump and well issues. Training in water quality empowered the participants to complete rapid assessments of the quality of the water and start monitoring programs. The success of the project was based on collaboration with multiple organizations focusing on the development of local capacity. The lessons learnt from this campaign should be considered for other rural groundwater supply scenarios.

Abstract

The interaction between groundwater and wetlands is poorly understood, even though it has been the topic of many research projects, like the study done at the Langebaan Lagoon. This interaction is complex as it lies at the intersection between groundwater and surface water, but each situation is unique, with different conditions regulating the interaction. Wetlands can be the source of water that recharges groundwater systems on the one hand, while the other is dependent on the groundwater systems. This interaction became part of the project looking at how to implement Managed Aquifer Recharge for Saldanha Bay Local Municipality without having a negative impact on the groundwater-dependent ecosystems, such as the springs and wetlands in the area. Ten wetlands were identified on the Langebaan Road Aquifer Unit, and a monitoring programme was developed. The purpose of the monitoring was to determine the status of the wetlands as a baseline before the implementation of managed aquifer recharge and to determine the level of groundwater dependence. The latter was done by hydrochemical analysis of rainwater, groundwater and water from the wetlands and stable isotope analysis. The ability of the wetlands to act as a recharge point to the groundwater system will be investigated through column experiments and lithostratigraphic analysis of soil columns taken at the wetlands. Groundwater levels will also be plotted as contour lines to determine the intersection of the water table with the wetlands in the area.

Abstract

Basin-scale studies addressing the transfer of pollutants among groundwater and surface water bodies are essential to support local authorities in the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This work revealed that, in the hydro-system of the Oglio River basin (Northern Italy), nitrate pollution in groundwater, originated by overfertilization, is transferred downstream to surface water bodies via outflow through lowland springs and baseflow to gaining rivers. Downstream groundwater is unaffected due to reducing conditions that facilitate denitrification. It follows that efficient measures to reduce nitrate pollution in surface water bodies should not be applied solely to rivers/streams but, instead, they should include the upstream groundwater body. The work aimed at understanding nitrate pollution dynamics in an intensively irrigated hydro-system, focusing on the role played by the complex interaction among irrigation water, surface water and groundwater. The study relied on nitrate concentration, Cl/Br ratio, stable isotopic composition of water, nitrate and boron in groundwater, river, lake, spring, and rainwater samples. Results highlighted a well-defined spatial distribution of nitrate concentrations in groundwater, mainly driven by irrigation practices: (1) where groundwater-fed irrigation is done, return flow promotes high nitrate concentrations (>50 mg/L) due to groundwater recirculation; (2) where intensive surface-water-irrigation is practised, fed by low-nitrate river water, return flow generates lower nitrate concentrations (<50 mg/L) due to dilution. This work highlighted the importance of a holistic approach jointly investigating surface water, groundwater, and irrigation water when nitrate pollution is examined at a basin scale.

Abstract

The intermediate vadose zone underlies the plant root zone and comprises soil and rock. Different soils have different hydraulic and mechanical properties, and the vertical and spatial distributions are variable at a small scale. In South Africa, except for the Cenozoic and Quaternary deserts and coastal deposits, rock forms most of the vadose zone, and the rock fractures exacerbate the complexity. The vadose zone is observed at a small scale and dictates what happens in large scale, as adhesion to mineral surfaces happens first, and cohesion between water molecules is next. The original consideration of the intermediate vadose zone was a black box approach measuring what goes in from the surface and what goes out as groundwater recharge, not accounting for the movement of the vast majority of the freshwater supplied through precipitation. That doesn’t address the preferential flow, velocity, and pore water changes in the medium. Soil science addresses the soil or plant root zone very well. This zone governs the vertical movement of water and controls the ecosystems and biodiversity. However, all evapotranspiration disappears below this zone, and capillarity and gravity both move water into and through the intermediate vadose zone. Movement is no longer solely vertical and will be affected by soil types, intergranular porosity in soil and rock, changing water content, and secondary fractures with different properties in rock. This presentation will cover concepts and advances in this field, emphasising how and why water moves in the intermediate vadose zone.

Abstract

Groundwater is a critical resource in Namibia, particularly in the Kunene and Omusati Regions, which are among the driest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Hydrogeological mapping is essential to ensure this resource’s sustainable use and management. The hydrogeological map of Namibia was updated recently (2021). However, the details of a 1:1M map are too coarse for regional groundwater management. An ongoing study of groundwater potential assessment in the two regions required downscaling the information to 1:250 000. This work made use of geological maps 1:250 000 from the Geological Survey of Namibia, about 430 selected wells including 20 recent boreholes, 117 reinterpreted pumping tests, some existing reports from private companies, academic works including a PhD thesis, interviews with local water resource experts and statistical analysis of 6 500 wells from the National Groundwater Database (GROWAS II) maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR). The regional hydrogeological map obtained was then associated with the recharge evaluated in a separate task of the same project to assess the available groundwater sustainability. By assessing abstraction costs and water demand, the work gives insights into areas where groundwater abstraction can be increased or restricted to ensure sustainable use. As conscientious and serious as this study may be, it does not replace a master plan but allows a global vision of the development potential of groundwater at a regional scale. This study was financed by the French Agency for Development (AFD) under a tripartite agreement (MAWLR-MEFT-AFD).

Abstract

Groundwater is connected with the earth’s interior, atmosphere, ocean sphere, and human sphere. Fluid, heat, and dissolved materials are crossed over the boundaries of adjacent spheres with different time scales in dynamics. These different time scales include event scales such as earthquakes and Tsunami, seasonal scales such as precipitation seasonality, a decade or longer scales such as climate change, and human scales such as groundwater pumping, land cover/use changes, and social revolutions such as industrialization, green revolution, urbanization, and globalization in Anthropocene. This study shows two examples of groundwater connected with different time scales. The first is thermal signals preserved in groundwater by earthquake, climate change, and anthropogenic impacts with different time scales. Thermal signals in groundwater from the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016 revealed evidence of fluid flow from the earth interior and Aso mountain. The thermal signal in groundwater in Kumamoto also showed the impacts of global warming and urbanization, as well as changes in precipitation and land use. The second example is the connectivity between residence time of groundwater and groundwater consumption in social revolutions such as industrialization and urbanization in the Anthropocene, as well as World War II as an example of groundwater for emergency situations.

Abstract

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMs) technologies coupled with Python data analysis can provide in-situ, multiple-point monitoring of pore pressure at discrete and local scales for engineering projects. MEMs sensors are tiny, robust, inexpensive, and can provide wireless sensing measurements in many electrical and geomechanical engineering applications. We demonstrate the development of MEMs pressure sensors for pore pressure monitoring in open boreholes and grouted in piezometers. MEMs sensors with a 60 m hydraulic head range and centimetre vertical resolution were subject to stability and drawdown tests in open boreholes and in various sand and grouts (permeability 10-8 to 10-2 m/s). The resulting accuracy and precision of the MEMs sensors, with optimal calibration models, were similar to conventional pore pressure sensors. We also demonstrate a framework for estimating in-situ hydrogeological properties for analysis from vented pore pressure sensors. This framework method included Python code analysis of hourly pore pressure data at the millimetre vertical resolution, which was combined with barometric data and modelled earth tides for each borehole. Results for pore pressure analysis in confined boreholes (>50 m depth) included specific storage, horizontal hydraulic conductivity and geomechanical properties. Future improvements in the vertical resolution of MEMs pore pressure sensors and combined these two technologies will enable groundwater monitoring at multiple scales. This could include the deployment of numerous MEMs, at sub-meter discrete scale in boreholes and evaluating local site scale variations in pore pressure responses to recharge, groundwater pumping and excavations in complex sub-surface geological conditions.

Abstract

Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) can play a vital role in sustaining water availability to cope with increasing weather extremes. In urban areas, ASR systems may provide flooding risk mitigation and support urban greenery. However, such systems are often relatively small and therefore, their recovery performance depends more strongly on site-specific storage conditions such as dispersion and displacement by ambient groundwater flow. In this study, we evaluated the impact of these factors by adapting and developing analytical solutions and numerical modelling, with recently established Urban ASR systems as a reference for a wide range of realistic field conditions. We validated the accuracy and usefulness of the analytical solutions for performance anticipation. Results showed that a simple, analytically derived formula describing dispersion losses solely based on the dispersion coefficient (α) and the hydraulic radius of the injected volume (Rh) provided a very good match for all conditions tested where α/Rh<0.2. An expansion of the formula to include the development of recovery efficiency with subsequent cycles (i) was also derived and in keeping with simulation results. Also, displacement losses were found to be significant at groundwater flow velocities that are typically considered negligible, particularly as displacement and dispersion losses disproportionally enforced each other. For specific conditions where the displacement losses are dominant, using a downgradient abstraction well, effectively resulting in an ASTR system, might be beneficial to increase recovery efficiencies despite increased construction costs and design uncertainty.

Abstract

This work is part of the AUVERWATCH project (AUVERgne WATer CHemistry), which aims to better characterise some Auvergne water bodies, specifically the alluvial hydrosystem of Allier River (France). Alluvial aquifers constitute worldwide a productive water resource, superficial and easily exploitable. In France, 45% of the groundwater use comes from these aquifers. The study site is a wellfield that withdraws 8.5 million m3 of water annually from an alluvial aquifer to produce domestic water for 80% of the local population. At the watershed scale, precipitations have decreased by -11.8 mm/y, air temperatures have increased by 0.06°C/y and the river flow has declined by 20.8 Mm3 /y on 2000 – 2020. In the summer period, at least 50% of the river flow is ensured by the Naussac dam (upstream catchment part), but the recent winter droughts have not allowed the dam to replenish. Thus, water stakeholders are concerned that the productivity of the wellfield could be soon compromised. Based on geological, geophysical, hydrochemical, and hydrodynamic surveys, a numerical model of the wellfield is being developed using MODFLOW. The calibration in natural flow regime is successful using a range of hydraulic conductivities going from 1×10-3 to 1×10-4 m/s (pilot points method), consistent with the pumping tests. Preliminary results show that the river entirely controls the groundwater levels at all observation points. The perspective is now to calibrate this model in a transient regime by integrating domestic water withdrawals to determine how low the river can go without affecting the wellfield productivity.

Abstract

An end-member mixing analysis has been conducted for the hydrogeological system of the endorheic catchment of the Fuente de Piedra lagoon (Malaga, Southern Spain). Three end-members have been considered because of the three main groundwater types related to the different kinds of aquifers found in the catchment. The model’s objective is to help understand the distribution of the organic contaminants (including contaminants of emerging concern [CECs]) detected in groundwater samples from the catchment. Results suggest that some contaminants can be related to long groundwater residence time fluxes, where contaminant attenuation can be limited due to low oxygen levels and microbial activity. The three main aquifer types are: (i) unconfined carbonate aquifers with low mineralized water corresponding to two mountain ranges with no human activities over theirs surface; (ii) an unconfined porous aquifer formed by Quaternary and Miocene deposits, exposed to pollution from anthropogenic activities (agriculture and urban sources); and (iii) a karstic-type aquifer formed by blocks of limestones and dolostones confined by a clayey, marly and evaporite matrix from Upper Triassic. The groundwater monitoring campaign for the analysis of organic contaminants was carried out in March 2018. Target organic contaminants included pharmaceuticals, personal care products, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, flame retardants and plasticizers. For the mixing model, a dataset was built with the hydrochemistry and isotopic results (δ2 H, δ18O) from the monitoring campaign conducted in March 2018 and from campaigns carried out in previous years and retrieved from the literature.

Abstract

Periodic climate variability, such as that caused by climate teleconnections, can significantly impact groundwater, and the ability to predict groundwater variability in space and time is critical for effective water resource management. However, the relationship between climate variability on a global scale and groundwater recharge and levels remains poorly understood due to incomplete groundwater records and anthropogenic impacts. Moreover, the nonlinear relationship between subsurface properties and surface infiltration makes it difficult to understand climate variability’s influence on groundwater resources systematically. This study presents a global assessment of the impact of climate teleconnections on groundwater recharge and groundwater levels using an analytical solution derived from the Richards equation. The propagation of climate variability through the unsaturated zone by considering global-scale climate variability consistent with climate teleconnections such as the Pacific-North American Oscillation (PNA) and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is evaluated, and it is shown when and where climate teleconnections are expected to affect groundwater levels. The results demonstrate the dampening effect of surface infiltration variability with depth in the vadose zone. Guidance for predicting long-term groundwater levels and highlighting the importance of climate teleconnections in groundwater management is provided. The obtained insights into the spatial and temporal variability of groundwater recharge and groundwater levels due to climate variability can contribute to sustainable water resource management.

Abstract

This study aims to contribute to the conceptual and methodological development of units of joint management in transboundary aquifers (TBAs) to prevent and mitigate cross-border groundwater impacts (GWIs) in quantity and/or quality. Joint management units are a relatively new but growing topic in the field of TBAs, and their conceptualisation and appropriate identification are still at an early stage. By reviewing the literature on the subject and elaborating on its terminology, main features, and current methodological progress, a comparison of the existing methodologies for identifying such units is analysed. On this basis, trends and recommendations for further research and application of such methodologies to the joint management of TBAs are presented. The literature on this issue is scarce and has been published mainly in the last five years. These publications lack consistency in the use of concepts and terminology. The above has led to miscommunication and semantic issues in the concept behind such units and in comprehending the particular challenges of identifying them. Still, some directions and methodologies for identifying or directly delineating these management units have been proposed in the literature. However, no analysis from these methodological attempts has been conducted; thus, there are no lessons to be learned about this progress. This research looks forward to closing these gaps and making headway toward dealing with cross-border GWIs in TBAs, thus helping countries meet international law responsibilities and maintaining stable relationships among them.

Abstract

Understanding and quantifying hydrology processes represent a mandatory step in semi-arid/arid regions for defining the vulnerability of these environments to climate change and human pressure and providing useful data to steer mitigation and resilience strategies. This generally valid concept becomes even more stringent for highly sensitive ecosystems, such as small islands like Pianosa. The project intends to deploy a multi-disciplinary approach for better understanding and quantifying the hydrological processes affecting water availability and their evolution, possibly suggesting best practices for water sustainability.

First results pointed out as over the last decade the precipitation regime has led to a major rate of evapotranspiration and minor effective infiltration that caused a decreasing of piezometric level over several years. Quantity and chemical-isotopic features of rainfall and effective infiltration water measured/collected by a raingauge and a high precision lysimeter describe the hydrological processes at soil level and characterize the rate and seasonality of groundwater recharge. Hydrogeological and geochemical data of groundwater are highlighting the distribution and relationship among different groundwater components, including the seawater intrusion. Furthermore, the comparative analyses of continuative data monitoring in wells and weather station showed the presence of possible concentrated water infiltration processes during rainfall extreme events that induce a quick response of shallow groundwater system in terms of water level rise and decrease of electrical conductivity. Thus, elements of vulnerability of the aquifer to pollution are pointed out, as well as the possibility to provide technical solutions for enhancing water infiltration and groundwater availability.

Abstract

Case studies illustrate a conceptual framework for shallow groundwater flow systems’ temporal and spatial variability with groundwater-surface water interactions in the Boreal Plains of Canada. The framework was developed using a twenty-year hydrometric dataset (e.g., climatological and streamflow data, hydraulic heads, vertical hydraulic head gradients, geochemical and isotopic signatures). The region is characterized by low-relief glacial landscapes, with a mosaic of forestlands and peatlands, and a subhumid climate, resulting in spatially heterogeneous storage and transmission properties, variable recharge and evapotranspiration potentials, and highly complex patterns of water movement. Two primary spatiotemporal scales were examined to create a holistic, variable-scale conceptual model of groundwater movement: the large scale (e.g., glacial landforms, regional topography, decadal climate cycles) and the small scale (e.g., individual landcover, local hummocks, annual moisture deficits). Water table behaviour, evapotranspiration rates, and runoff were controlled by a hierarchy of interactions between hydrological processes occurring at different spatiotemporal scales; however, the specific order of controls depends on the hydrogeological setting. The case studies, supported by empirical and numerical modelling, demonstrate that smaller-scale heterogeneities in geology and recharge can dominate over topographic controls, particularly in areas with high conductivity or hummocky terrain, where the climate, geology, and topographic relief are similar. Many hydrogeological studies rely on surface topography as a first‐order control; however, with field observations and modelling, this conceptual framework demonstrates the need to consider the potential dominance of subsurface characteristics and processes, plus climate, especially in landscapes with low recharge and low relief.

Abstract

The results of a full field application of a DNA-based nano tracer in an arenitic aquifer are presented along with the comparison with the breakthrough of a classical tracer injected in parallel. DNA is encapsulated into amorphous silica spheres (nanoparticles), protecting the molecule from chemical and physical stresses. The main advantages of using DNA with classical tracers, like ionic or fluorescent, are the lower detection concentration and the chance to perform multi-tracer tests with many distinct signatures of injection. To the authors’ best knowledge, this is the first tracing adopting nano-particles on full field conditions in a sedimentary fractured aquifer. Preliminary tests in the lab were performed adopting either deionized water or groundwater collected at the experimental site: a set of nanoparticles at a known concentration was dissolved by adding a buffered fluoride solution, and DNA was then quantified by qPCR reaction (SYBR green). The hydrogeological setting is represented by a Miocenic marine arenitic aquifer (Pantano formation) outcropping extensively in Northern Apennines (Italy) and the main groundwater reservoir for public water supply through the uptake of many perennial springs. The main purpose of the tracing was to verify the transmissive capacity of fractures with high aperture (15-20 cm) identified by optical and acoustic televiewers inside an 80 m deep borehole. The injection was performed inside the borehole, and the tracer’s recovery was between 5-15 m, both in the uptake points of two perennial springs and in another borehole drilled nearby.

Abstract

Groundwater modelling at the mine sites involves assumptions from the geological model, mining stages, parametrization, and fractures, among others. Modelling work mainly focuses on calibrating against historical measurements before operations (pre-mining) or afterwards (transient calibration). Calibration is carried out mainly with gradient-based algorithms. However, the majorlimitation is the number of model runs, since the number of parameters can easily reach hundreds or more. PEST has become the common tool for parameter estimation. The Jacobin calculation required for the Levenberg Marquardt algorithm requires several model runs. This, a limited factor for the calibration and, subsequently, uncertainty quantification. The next generation of PEST, named PESTPP, is gained popularity in the groundwater community. The great advantage of PESTPP,, compared to the classical PEST, is its new module, Iterative Ensemble Smoother (IES). PESTPP-IES covers both parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification in one goal. Its empirical formulation of the Jacobian matrix reduces the number of runs; thus, the numerical bottleneck can be significantly reduced. PESTPP-IES has been extensively tested in an open-pit mine at the geological complex conditions in the Peruvian Andes. The work involves the task of model simplification, e.g., from a regional model to a detailed local pit model, calibration and uncertainty quantification of pit dewatering volumes. Detailed model was kept calibrated based on hydraulic-head measurements, and dewatering volumes were predicted. All these consider transient changes in the mining plan within the same FEFLOW model. Results validate the methodology and practicability in mining applications.

Abstract

The lack of reliable groundwater level monitoring data hinders the comprehensive understanding and sustainable management of our aquifers. New remotely sensed data products could present novel possibilities to fill in situ data gaps. For example, continuous monthly groundwater storage anomaly estimates at a spatial resolution of 0.25° (28 km) are made available through the Global Data Assimilation System Version 2.2 (GLDAS-2.2) data products that assimilate Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data. In this study, it was hypothesised that the open-source, higher resolution Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation With Station Data (CHIRPS) precipitation data and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) evapotranspiration data could be used to downscale groundwater storage anomalies (GWSA) for local scale investigations. Using an intergranular and fractured aquifer, as well as a karst aquifer as case studies, both enclosed within the Steenkoppies Catchment (A21F), two respective random forest regression (RFR) models were developed to downscale GLDAS-2.2 GWSA. Sampling monthly training data without accounting for temporal lagging resulted in an increased correlation, index of agreement (IA) and improved RMSE for the intergranular and fractured aquifer. Where the correlation between the observed groundwater storage changes and the GLDAS-2.2 groundwater storage estimates were weaker, however, accounting for the temporal lags resulted in an improved RMSE. The final product is a 0.05° (5.5 km) grid of monthly time-series GWSA estimates that can improve groundwater resource assessments, understanding aquifer recharge, modelling accuracies and better overall decision-making regarding Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).

Abstract

he Danakil Depression of the Afar Rift forms part of the north/south-trending Ethiopia-Eritrean arm of the East African Rift System, whereas the western margin of the depression forms part of an active plate boundary between the western Nubian and eastern Danakil tectonic blocks. Dallol (within the Danakil Depression) currently holds the record for the highest average temperature for an inhabited place on Earth, with annual average temperatures of ~35-36°C. The isolated area was initially explored geologically in the late 1960s, with recent geological and hydrogeological interest in its northeast Ethiopian portion due to easier access, geo-tourism and potash-ore exploration. Potash mining is proposed via solution-extraction techniques, requiring large volumes of water in one of the driest hyper-arid regions. Various hydrogeological investigations were therefore conducted between 2014 and 2016 as part of a feasibility and water resource study towards developing a water resource estimate for the region and proposed mining operations. Alluvial fans on the west side of the rift basin form a major, regional primary aquifer – fan boreholes have yields of 50 litres per second, although groundwater is highly saline (up to 3-5 times the salinity of seawater) and can reach temperatures of 50°C. Groundwater yields of hundreds of millions of cubic metres per annum are potentially available from the saline alluvial fan primary aquifers for potash solution mining. In contrast, groundwater from karstic limestone aquifers could provide a freshwater resource to settlements within the Lelegheddi River basin and the Danakil.

Abstract

The Guarani Aquifer System (SAG) is the main public water supply source in Bauru City (Brazil). It mostly consists of sandstones and is a confined unit of fossil waters (~600 thousand years); therefore, it is a non-renewable and finite resource. SAG is overlaid by the Bauru Aquifer System (SAB), predominantly consisting of sandstones, siltstones, and mudstones, and is essential for private water supply in the municipality. In recent decades, constant drops in water levels in SAG and increases in contaminant loads in SAB have been observed in production wells, generating the need to understand the geometry of those aquifer systems.

This work presents the preliminary results of the analysis and review of hydrogeological and geophysical data from 59 deep wells and 3D geological modelling using Leapfrog Works® to represent a conceptual model of the study area. SAG has a thickness of up to 356 m in the wells and is represented, from bottom to top, by Teresina, Piramboia, and Botucatu formations. In the north and northeast regions, SAG is covered by a layer of basalts from the Serra Geral Aquifer System (SASG) with a thickness of up to 190 m. The thickness of SASG is variable (or even null) due to the action of important faults with vertical displacements that created structural windows in the region. SAB covers the Araçatuba (basal portion), Adamantina (144 m), and Marília (65 m) formations. The lower contact of SAB is made with SASG or SAG (central region). Project funded by FAPESP (2020/15434-0).