Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

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Abstract

South Africa faces serious water scarcity challenges not only because it is a semi-arid country but also due to climate change. One of the most significant effects of climate change is an increase in temperature, which inevitably increases evaporation. Increased evaporation directly reduces the availability of surface water resources. Groundwater is less susceptible than surface water resources to evaporation and thus offers resilience against the impacts of climate change. Many South African cities, communities, and farmers depend on groundwater for domestic or other socio-economic purposes. This implies that groundwater resources which are currently or potentially utilisable should be identified, and suitable legal measures should be implemented to protect these resources from potential risks of harm or damage posed by anthropogenic activity. First, This article evaluates the effectiveness of the country’s existing regulatory framework to effectively protect South Africa’s groundwater resources and finds that the framework can be improved significantly. Secondly, it explores regulatory opportunities within the existing legal framework to strengthen South Africa’s groundwater governance regime, including using land use planning instruments to facilitate the implementation of groundwater protection zones

Abstract

We present findings from a current project in the Hout Catchment, Limpopo Province in South Africa, In grounding the discussion, we propose a citizen science framework that builds on ideas of the living lab, trust and research integrity. The idea of research integrity is not only about ethics but also about methods and we propose participatory methods that are inclusive, just and fair. We achieve trust and practices of research integrity, applying participatory action research methods which not only address the hydrological void in data by identifying water features in the catchment but also have intrinsic value, enhancing well being and brokering trust. The frame presents the idea of water literacy – where the material aspects of CS (dip-meters, rain gauges etc.) intersect with the more intangible goods that have to do with human well-being. In our application we redress the bias where the focus lies more on the natural science aspect rather than the humanities with its attention to human well-being and the recognition of difference and diversity. Considering CS within the frame of feminist philosophy, it is personally transformative with the element of ‘surprise’ that the end point is undetermined – and it focusses on diversity and difference across segments and within segments in the catchment. Participatory parity has intrinsic value (equity and a more just social context) but also extrinsic value (better data and plotting of map features for remote rural areas otherwise difficult to access). CS is a powerful emancipatory tool that is able to generate virtuous cycles of inclusion and equality. We propose a CS frame that captures the ideas of trust, the living lab, SDGs and the emancipatory notion of citizen science, narrowing the divide between the natural and social sciences and acknowledging research integrity and the opportunity for what we call ‘authentic’ learning.

Also Refer Article published in the BWJVol131 https://bwa.co.za/the-borehole-water-journal/2021/12/28/south-african-groundwater-project-shows-the-power-of-citizen-science

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

atural water-rock interaction processes and anthropogenic inputs from various sources usually influence groundwater chemistry. There is a need to assess and characterise groundwater quality monitoring objectives and background values to improve groundwater resource monitoring, protection and management. This study aims to determine monitoring objectives and characterise monitoring background values for all monitoring points within the Soutpansberg region. This study used long-term groundwater quality monitoring data (1995- 2022) from 12 boreholes and 2 geothermal springs. Monitoring objectives were determined from land-use activities, allocated groundwater use, and water use sectors. Monitoring background values were determined from the physio-chemical parameters from each of the 14 monitoring points. This study determined monitoring objectives and background values of all monitoring points and all physio-chemical parameters in the Soutpansberg region. This study recommends reviewing the determined monitoring objectives and background values every 5 to 10 years to assess any change in land use, groundwater use and sector and monitoring data trends.

Abstract

In the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja (Abuja FCT, Nigeria), a population growth of about 400% between 2000 and 2020 has been reported. This trend, coupled with the persisting urban sprawling, is likely to result in severe groundwater quality depletion and contamination, thus undermining one of the area’s main freshwater supplies for drinking purposes. In fact, groundwater in Nigeria and Abuja FCT provides over 70% of the drinking purposes. Results of a groundwater vulnerability assessment that compared land use data from 2000 and 2020 showed that the region had been affected by a dramatic change with an increase in urbanized (+5%) and agricultural (+27%) areas that caused nitrate concentrations to exceed the statutory limit for drinking purposes in more than 30% of the monitored wells in 2021 and 40% in 2022. Although fertilizers are generally considered the main source of nitrate contamination, results suggest a possible mixed (urban and agricultural) pollution origin and a legacy of previous nitrogen pollution sources. The comparison between the DRASTIC-LU map and nitrate concentrations shows that the highest values are found in urban/peri-urban areas, in both shallow and deep wells. This investigation is the first step of a comprehensive nitrate pollution assessment in the region, which will provide decision-makers with adequate information for urban planning given the expected population growth in the area

Abstract

Recharge is an important factor in Water Resources Management as it is often used as a measure for sustainable groundwater abstraction and resource allocation. The recharge estimation is, however, linked to a specific time, area and conditions and then generalised over seasons and years. Current climate change estimations predict a warmer and drier future for western parts of southern Africa. Groundwater recharge estimation methods do not consider changes in climate over the short term and do not consider the longer trends of a changing climate. This article looks at the various methodologies used in recharge estimations and their application in a changing world, where rainfall period, pattern and intensity have changed, where higher temperatures lead to higher actual evapotranspiration and where there is a greater need for water resources for use in agriculture, industry and domestic use. Our study considers the implications of current recharge estimation methods over the long term for water allocation and water resources management of groundwater resources from local and aquifer catchment scale estimations.

Abstract

A multi-data integration approach was used to assess groundwater potential in the Naledi Local Municipality located in the North West Province of South Africa. The geology comprised Archaean crystalline basement, carbonate rocks (dolomite and limestone) and windblown sand deposits of the Kalahari Group. The main objective of the study is to evaluate the groundwater resource potential using multi-data integration and environmental isotope approaches. Prior to data integration, weighting coefficients were computed using principal component analysis.

The results of integration of six layers revealed a number of groundwater potential zones. The most significant zone covers ~14% of the study area and is located within carbonate rocks in the southern part of the study area. The localisation of high groundwater potential within carbonate rocks is consistent with the results of principal component analysis that suggests that lithology significantly contributed to the total data variance corresponding to principal component 1. In other words, carbonate rocks consisting of dolomite and limestone largely account for groundwater occurrence in the southern part of the area. In addition, the relatively elevated isotopic signature of tritium (≥1.0 TU)  in  groundwater  samples  located  in  the  southern  part  of  the  area  suggests  a  groundwater recharge   zone.   Furthermore,   moderate-to-good   groundwater   potential   zones   within   the Ventersdorp lava coincide with maximum concentration of fractures, which is consistent with the results of statistical correlation between borehole yield and lineament density. The multi-data integration approach and statistical correlation used in the context of evaluating groundwater resource potential of the area provided a conceptual understanding of hydrogeological parameters that control the development of groundwater in crystalline and carbonate rocks. Such approach is crucial in light of the increasing demand for groundwater arising from municipal water supply and agricultural use. The two approaches are very effective and can be used as a sound scientific basis for understanding groundwater occurrence elsewhere in similar hydrogeological environments.

Abstract

The subject mine has a policy of avoiding groundwater inflow into the underground workings due to the impact on the mine operations. It has already implemented a significant mitigation measure by excluding shallow mining and a large pillar under the river that is present in the mining area. To assess the potential for groundwater inflows into the underground mine workings as a result of a planned expansion project, Environmental Resources Management (ERM) undertook numerical groundwater modelling based on a detailed geological investigation to define the proposed mining area into high, medium and low mining risk areas with respect to potential groundwater inflow. The conceptual definitions of the mining risk areas are: 

High Risk general groundwater seepage and inflow expected in the face and roof of the mining unit from numerous joints and fractures which is regarded as serious enough to permanently halt mining operations. 

Medium Risk possibility of limited point source groundwater inflow in the face and roof of the mining unit from sporadic selective joints and fractures. Not expected to halt mining operations. 

Low Risk no significant groundwater risk to mining operations expected.

The areas identified as being potentially at risk from groundwater inflow were determined using a combination of geological mapping, ground geophysics and percussion drilling that was incorporated into a numerical hydrogeological model. The study undertaken by ERM enabled the mine to incorporate the identified mining risk zones into the early stages of the mine planning, and allowed for a significant reduction in the size of the safety pillar under the river.

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 Transboundary Groundwater Resilience (TGR) Network-of-Networks project brings together researchers from multiple countries to address the challenges of groundwater scarcity and continuing depletion. Improving groundwater resilience through international research collaborations and engaging professionals from hydrology, social science, data science, and related fields is a crucial strategy enabling better decision-making at the transboundary level. As a component of the underlying data infrastructure, the TGR project applies visual analytics and graph-theoretical approaches to explore the international academic network of transboundary groundwater research. This enables the identification of research clusters around specific topic areas within transboundary groundwater research, understanding how the network evolved over the years, and finding partners with matching or complementary research interests. Novel online software for analysing co-authorship networks, built on the online SuAVE (Survey Analysis via Visual Exploration, suave.sdsc.edu) visual analytics platform, will be demonstrated. The application uses OpenAlex, a new open-access bibliographic data source, to extract publications that mention transboundary aquifers or transboundary groundwater and automatically tag them with groundwater-specific keywords and names of studied aquifers. The analytics platform includes a series of data views and maps to help the user view the entire academic landscape of transboundary groundwater research, compute network fragmentation characteristics, focus on individual clusters or authors, view individual researchers’ profiles and publications, and determine their centrality and network role using betweenness, eigenvector centrality, key player fragmentation, and other network measures. This information helps guide the project’s data-driven international networking, making it more comprehensive and efficient.

Abstract

Groundwater is increasingly being exploited in South African cities as a drought crisis response, yet there is poorly coordinated regulation of increasing urban users and usage and fragmented management of aquifers. Designing interventions and innovations that ensure sustainable management of these resources requires systems thinking, where the city is understood as an integrated, interdependent set of actors and flows of water. This paper presents a study that applied and integrated an urban water metabolism (UWM) analysis with a governance network analysis for two major South African cities facing severe drought risk, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay. ‘Learning Laboratories’ in each city brought together stakeholders from various groundwater-related domains to build a shared understanding of how groundwater fits into the larger system and how various actors shape urban groundwater flows and the health of local aquifers. The UWM quantified all hydrological and anthropogenic flows into and out of each city (or urban system) to conduct an integrated mass balance. How this mass balance changes under varying climate change scenarios and land use was used as a focal point of stakeholder discussions. The governance network analysis highlighted that many state and non-state actors have a stake in shaping the quantity and quality of urban groundwater, such as regulators, service providers, water users, knowledge providers, investors in infrastructure, and emergency responders.

Abstract

The Anglo-American Municipal Capability & Partnership Program (MCPP) has partnered with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to implement programs focused on Strategic Water Management and Strategic Planning within the Gamagara and Tsantsabane Local municipalities within the Northern Cape Region. The CSIR appointed GEOSS South Africa (Pty) Ltd to assist with Municipal Groundwater Capacity Development and Support for these two municipalities. This work explores multi-level groundwater governance systems between the local municipality, government, the mining industry, and the private groundwater sector. The scope of the work focused on developing a comprehensive and practical groundwater management plan detailing the standard operating procedures for each municipality. These operating procedures have been drawn up using principles of best practice guidelines for groundwater monitoring and management but have taken site-specific details of the groundwater supply to the respective Municipalities into account. Workshops were conducted where Municipal staff were trained in basic principles pertaining to groundwater and practical skills in monitoring and managing their supply. This has proved very successful in informing Municipalities about their local groundwater system and aquifer. The capacity-building development aspect will ensure that Municipalities have the resources and the knowledge to manage their groundwater resource effectively. GEOSS has undergone several training workshops and offers weekly technical support to the two Municipalities. As the confidence of the municipal staff to manage their resource grows, their independence from the mining companies should lessen.

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

An approach for evaluating the sustainability of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) has been developed and applied in Botswana. Numerical groundwater modelling, water supply security modelling (SWWM) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) are combined to thoroughly assess hydrogeological conditions, supply and demand over time and identify the most sustainable options. Botswana is experiencing water stress due to natural conditions, climate change and increasing water demand. MAR has been identified as a potential solution to increase water supply security, and the Palla Road aquifer, located 150 km northeast of the capital, Gaborone, has been identified as a potential site. To evaluate the potential of MAR and if it is suitable for improving water supply security, three full-scale MAR scenarios were evaluated based on their technical, economic, social and environmental performance relative to a scenario without MAR. The numerical groundwater model and the WSSM were used iteratively to provide necessary input data. The WSSM is a probabilistic and dynamic water balance model used to simulate the magnitude and probability of water shortages based on source water availability, dynamic storage in dams and aquifers, reliability of infrastructure components, and water demand. The modelling results were used as input to the MCDA to determine the sustainability of alternative MAR scenarios. The results provide useful decision support and show that MAR can increase water supply security. For the Palla Road aquifer, storage and recovery with a capacity of 40 000 m3 /d is the most sustainable option.

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

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

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

This study presents a novel approach for developing geologically and hydrogeologically consistent groundwater models at large valley scales. Integrating geological, geophysical, and hydrogeological data into a single model is often challenging, but our methodology overcomes this challenge by combining the Ensemble Smoother with Multiple Data Assimilation algorithm (ESMDA) with a hierarchical geological modelling approach (ArchPy). The ESMDA framework assimilates geophysical and hydrogeological field data jointly. To diminish the computational cost, the forward geophysical and groundwater responses are computed in lower-dimensional spaces relevant to each physical problem, alleviating the computational burden and accelerating the inversion process. Combining multiple data sources and regional conceptual geological knowledge in a stochastic framework makes the resulting model accurate and incorporates robust uncertainty estimation. We demonstrate the applicability of our approach using actual data from the upper Aare Valley in Switzerland. Our results show that integrating different data types, each sensitive to different spatial dimensions enhances the global quality of the model within a reasonable computing time. This automatic generation of groundwater models with a robust uncertainty estimation has potential applications in a wide variety of hydrogeological issues. Our methodology provides a framework for efficiently integrating multiple data sources in geologically consistent models, facilitating the development of hydrogeological models that can inform sustainable water resource management.

Abstract

PFAS and pharmaceuticals in groundwater are two of many synthetic compounds currently under the attention of many researchers and environmental administration in Europe, especially in light of the revision of the EU Groundwater Directive 2006/118/EU. The two types of substances were first included in the voluntary groundwater watch list and were first formally regulated at the EU scale. This regulation implies that they will be obligatory to be monitored within national monitoring programmes for groundwater body status assessment procedures across the EU. While there is no doubt about the need to regulate the presence of these substances in groundwater, sampling procedures and QC/QA protocols may be challenging to implement as no official guidelines exist. Although scientific literature allows us to define protocols usually based on precautionary principle, these may be too difficult and expensive to implement at the national scale monitoring. This article describes a work that the Polish Geological Institute – National Research Institute undertook to define an optimal sampling process for PFAS and pharmaceuticals in groundwater. Experimentally tested factors included cleaning pumps between sampling sites, the need for using protective suits during sampling and the influence of ambient air on sample quality. Results showed that sampling protocols for PFAS and pharmaceuticals do not need to be modified concerning current protocols as these seem to be sufficient to protect groundwater samples from unintentional cross-contamination.

Abstract

Water stewardship is achieved through a stakeholder’s inclusive process. It aims to guarantee long-term water security for all uses, including nature. Various actions can occur in the watershed’s recharge area, such as land cover restoration and artificial recharges. To measure the effectiveness of these actions, it is crucial to quantify their impact on water and communities. The common method for assessing the benefits of water stewardship activities is the volumetric water benefit accounting (VWBA) method. It allows for comparing the positive impact on water to the extracted groundwater volume for operations. We present the validation of the Positive Water Impact of DANONE Aqua operation at the Lido Site in West Java, Indonesia, within the VWBA framework. Different methods were used to evaluate three main water impact activities: (1) land cover restoration with reforestation, (2) artificial recharge with infiltration trenches and wells, and (3) water access. The curve number of the SWAT model was used to measure the reduced runoff impact of the land conservation action. The water table fluctuation method was employed to assess artificial recharge volume. The volume of pump discharge rates was used for water access. Results highlight the water impact at the Lido site, with the volumetric accounting of the three main activities. The discrepancy in the final calculation can be related to the variation in the field’s validated activities. VWBA framework is useful to validate water stewardship activities’ impact and plan further impactful actions.

Abstract

To better understand the role of groundwater contribution to baseflow and EWR in groundwater protection and allocation, groundwater contribution must be quantified. Groundwater contribution to baseflow remains a challenge. Baseflow values have been widely used as groundwater contribution to surface water, which overestimates or underestimates the role of groundwater in the ecological ecosystem sustainability. To achieve the aim of the study, which was to estimate groundwater contribution to baseflow in a perennial river system at a catchment scale of the Upper Berg catchment, three objectives were taken into consideration: 1) To describe the hydrogeology of river morphology for groundwater-surface water interaction, 2) To estimate groundwater contribution to baseflow 3) To demonstrate the use of the background condition in setting resource quality objectives. Baseflow separation method using the Lynne & Hollick and Chapman algorithms, mass balance equation using EC as the tracer, field observation, and hydrochemical analysis methods were used to determine groundwater contribution to baseflow. Based on the hydrogeological cross-section presented, the fractures and faults of the peninsula geological formation dominating the study area predicted groundwater contribution to baseflow, which was confirmed by the calculations. The mass balance equation showed that 2,397 % of the 7.9 % baseflow index calculated at G1H076 and 19,093% of the 7.2% baseflow index calculated at G1H077 was groundwater. The background condition of the Upper Berg catchment was determined to be pristine with clean water.

Abstract

Northern India and Pakistan face some of the world’s most challenging surface water and groundwater management issues over the coming decades. High groundwater abstraction, widespread canal irrigation, increases in glacier melt and changes to rainfall impact the dynamics of surface water/groundwater interactions in the Indus Basin and Upper Ganges. Studies using newly available data from long-term hydrographs, high-frequency stable isotope sampling and campaign sampling for groundwater residence time indicators are shedding light on the complex interactions between groundwater, surface water and rainfall. Interactions vary spatially: (1) with distance down the catchment, related to the prevailing rainfall gradient, and (2) with position in the canal command, both distance from barrage and distance from feeder canals. Interactions are also observed to vary with time due to (1) the historical evolution of the canal network, (2) patterns in precipitation over the past 120 years, (3) changes in river flow due to glacial melting, and (4) increased pumping, which has also led to increased capture of surface water. Only by understanding and quantifying the different processes affecting groundwater/surface water coupling in the Indus and Upper Ganges is it possible to forecast future groundwater storage changes.

Abstract

Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) refers to the monitoring of naturally occurring physical, chemical and biological processes. Three lines of evidence are commonly used to evaluate if MNA is occurring, and this paper focusses on the second line of evidence: The geochemical indicators of naturally occurring degradation processes and the site-specific estimation of attenuation rates.

The MNA geochemical indicators include the microbial electron acceptors (e.g. dissolved oxygen, nitrate and sulphate) and the metabolic by-products (manganese (II), iron (II) and methane). In addition, redox and alkalinity are important groundwater indicators. So as to properly assess the geochemical trends a groundwater monitoring well network tailored to assessing and defining the contaminant plume is required.

The expressed assimilative capacity (EAC) is used to estimate the capacity of the aquifer to degrade benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX compounds) using the concentrations of geochemical indicators. Using the EAC, the groundwater flow through a perpendicular cross-section of the source area, and the source mass, the life of the contaminant source can be made.

A practical example of the performance monitoring of MNA using geochemical parameters is described for a retail service station in KwaZulu-Natal, which has groundwater impacted by a petroleum hydrocarbon plume. This includes a description of the monitoring well network, the geochemical measurements, the calculation of the EAC, and the estimated life of the contaminant source.

Abstract

On a global scale, groundwater is seen as an essential resource for freshwater used in both socioeconomic and environmental systems; therefore forming a critical buffer when droughts occur. Due to its location in a dry and semi-arid part of South Africa, Beaufort West relies on groundwater as a crucial source of fresh water. Thus, proper management of their groundwater resources is vital to ensure its protection and preservation for future generations. Although fluctuations have occurred over the years, groundwater levels in the area have progressively dropped due to abstraction in well fields. However, in 2011, an episodic flooding event resulted in extreme groundwater recharge with groundwater levels North-East of Beaufort West recovering tremendously. This led to the overall groundwater levels of Beaufort West becoming relatively higher. The general flow of groundwater in the town, which is from the Nuweveld Mountains in the North to the town dyke in the South, is dictated by dykes occurring in the area.

This study aims to expand on the understanding of episodic groundwater recharge around extreme climatic conditions of high precipitation events in a semi-arid region. This was done by analyzing historical data for the Gamka Dam spanning over 30 years; estimating recharge in the Beaufort West well fields caused by the flooding event; as well as studying the hydrogeological setting and lineaments in the area. It was found that sufficiently elevated recharge around the observed flooding event only occurred in areas where the correct climatic (precipitation, evaporation), geological and geographical conditions were met. Ultimately, gaining a better understanding of these recharge events should aid in the assessment of the groundwater development potential of Beaufort West.

Abstract

Due to its location in a dry and arid part of South Africa, Beaufort West relies on groundwater as a crucial source of freshwater for the town. Although there have been fluctuations over the years, groundwater levels in the area have progressively dropped due to unsustainable abstraction from wellfields. The general flow of groundwater in the town, which is from the North where the Nuweveld mountains are situated to the town dyke in the South, is dictated by major dykes in the area. In 2011, flooding resulted in extreme groundwater recharge with groundwater levels North East of Beaufort West recovering tremendously, from 45m below ground level to approximately 10m below ground level; and the general groundwater levels of Beaufort West becoming relatively higher. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of episodic groundwater recharge around extreme climatic conditions of high precipitation events in a semi-arid region. This was done by analyzing data for surface water levels, groundwater levels, rainfall and evaporation from Beaufort West; using Sentinel 1 in InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) to utilize remote sensing as a tool to examine land surface fluctuations with regards to the changes in the groundwater levels; as well as studying the hydrogeological setting and lineaments in the area

Abstract

A major surface water–groundwater interaction difficulty is the complex nature of groundwater resources due to heterogenic aquifer parameters. Wholistic research is needed to inform the conceptual understanding of hydrological processes occurring at surface and groundwater interfaces and their interactions at watershed scales. Sustainable water resource use and protection depend on integrated management solutions involving cross-disciplinary studies and integrated hydrological modelling. Choosing appropriate methods such as spatial and temporal scales, measurable indicators, differences in software parameters, and limitations in application often results in uncertainties.

The study aims to conduct a comparative literature analysis, integrating case studies focusing on surface water–groundwater interaction. Literature reviews from case studies focus on several factors, including soils and vegetation studies, hydrochemical signatures, hydrodynamics of the main stem channels, desktop land use assessments, surface water quality profiling, conceptual hydrogeological modelling and numerical modelling in support of understanding surface water – groundwater interaction and highlight the challenges of methods used to indicate baseflow transition. This paper considers the methodologies demonstrated in the literature and their use in numerical modelling to obtain measurable indicators related to the two hydrological disciplines comprising (i) the surface water component and (ii) the groundwater component. These outcomes should be used to inform the potential future impacts on water quality from activities such as mining, irrigation, and industrial development. Water management protocols related to integrated surface water and groundwater studies for the future are critical in ensuring sustainable water management methods on a catchment scale.

Abstract

Multi-data integration approach was used to assess groundwater potential in an area consisting crystalline basement and carbonate rocks that are located in the North West Province of South Africa. The main objective of the study is to evaluate the groundwater resource potential of the region based on a thorough analysis of existing data combined with field observation. Integration of six thematic layers was supplemented by a statistical analysis of the relationship between lineaments density and borehole yield. Prior to data integration, weighting coefficients were computed using principal component analysis.
The resulting thematic layer derived from integration of the six layers revealed a number of groundwater potential zones. The most probable groundwater potential zones cover ~14% of the entire study area and located within carbonate rocks consisting limestone and dolomite. The presence of pre-existing structures together with younger and coarse sedimentary rocks deposited atop the carbonate rocks played a significant role in the development of high well fields in the southern part of the area. Moderate-to-high groundwater potential zones within Ventersdorp lava coincide with maximum concentrations of fractures. The results of statistical correlation suggest that 62% of high borehole yield within the Ventersdorp lave can be attributed to fracture density. In general, the present approach is very effective in delineating potential targets and can be used as a sound scientific basis for further detailed groundwater investigation.
KEY WORDS:- Multi-data, thematic layers, groundwater, carbonate rocks, structures

Abstract

This study focused on improving the understanding of flow regimes and boundary conditions in complex aquifer systems with unusual behavioural responses to pumping tests. In addition, the purpose was to provide a novel analysis of the hydrogeological properties of aquifers to deduce inferences about the general expected aquifer types to inform new practices for managing groundwater. In this paper, we report that using derivative analysis to improve understanding of complexities in aquifer flow systems is difficult and rarely used in groundwater hydraulics research work. Thus, we argue that if derivatives are not considered in the characterizing flow regime. The heterogeneity of aquifers, boundary conditions and flow regimes of such aquifers cannot be assessed for groundwater availability, and the decision to allocate such water for use can be impaired. A comprehensive database was accessed to obtain pumping tests and geological data sets. The sequential analysis approach alongside derivative analysis was used to systematically perform a flow dimension analysis in which straight segments on drawdown-log derivative time series were interpreted as successive, specific, and independent flow regimes. The complexity of using derivatives analyses was confirmed. The complexity of hydraulic signatures was observed by pointing out n sequential signals and noninteger n values frequently observed in the database. We suggest detailed research on groundwater flow systems using tracer methods like isotopes and numeric models must be considered, especially in multilayered aquifer systems such as the Heuningnes catchment.

Abstract

LNAPL present in a monitoring well forms part of the broader groundwater system and is effectively influenced by hydrogeological conditions, which are always changing. Monitoring of LNAPL is therefore of utmost importance to identify and assess the LNAPL hydrogeological conditions. Both groundwater and LNAPL can exist as unconfined and confined. Groundwater is unconfined when the upper boundary is the water table and is confined as a result of the presence of a confining layer with a relatively low vertical hydraulic conductivity that inhibits the flow of all liquids. LNAPL becomes unconfined when the apparent free product thickness increases with a decreasing groundwater elevation and confined when apparent free product thickness increases with an increasing groundwater elevation. The LNAPL is confined as a result of the difference between the capillary properties of the mobile LNAPL zone and its confining layer. Specifically, LNAPL is confined when it cannot overcome the pore entry pressure of the confining unit. Consequently, LNAPL may be confined when groundwater is not. The paper attempts to describe the hydrogeological conditions in case histories of both primary and fractured aquifers and illustrate how to identify and assess the conditions. Data such as free phase and groundwater level monitoring, well logs, sieving of soil and LNAPL bail tests are used as assessment tools. The additional required data is gathered and integrated in the conceptual site model, followed by a revision of the CSM and a refinement of decision goals over time. Thus the CSM matures and enables an improved understanding of the site characteristics and the re-adjustment of decision criteria. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

Historically Finsch Diamond Mine has experienced groundwater inflow in the underground workings of the mine. The inflow results in unsafe and undesirable working conditions. Sampling was conducted over a three month period in order to determine the source of the groundwater inflow. The sampling consisted of various underground samples, monitoring borehole samples as well as surficial water body samples. The samples were analysed for major and minor chemical constituents as well as O18 and H2 isotopes. In order to determine the source of inflow in the underground workings the samples were compared to that of the South African drinking water standard (SANS), graphically interpreted via Piper, expanded Durov and Stiff Diagrams as well as isotopically analysed by comparison to the Global Meteoric Water Line (GMWL). Geochemical modelling was employed in order to determine the typical chemical constituents where groundwater interacts with tailings material and to calculate mixing ratios. Comparison to SANS and the geochemical modelling indicated that elevated sulphate and sodium is associated with fine residue deposit (FRD) water. The Piper and expanded Durov diagrams indicated the presence of three major water types namely: calcium-magnesium-bicarbonate, calcium-magnesium-sulphate and sodium-sulphate types. The isotope analysis indicated the presence of three major water types namely: samples which correspond well with the GMWL, samples which do not correspond well with the GMWL but fall along a mixing line and water which does not correspond with the GMWL. From the analyses, it was clear that water with a sodium-sulphate signature and an evaporated nature, as seen from the isotope data occurred in the underground workings of the mine. These samples corresponded well with water from a nearby FRD and indicate that the FRD is responsible for inflow on shallow levels of the mine.

Abstract

The potential role of groundwater in supporting the resilience of human societies is garnering increased attention in the context of climate change. Much of this attention focuses on the resilience of the groundwater resource itself. Less attention has been given to the way that groundwater is used by society and how this may influence human-centred resilience outcomes, particularly in urban settings. In this paper, I explore how questions of scale are fundamental to the role of groundwater in the resilience of urban areas, from the scale of individual households to more regional and catchment-based notions of scale. It is these variations in the geographies of urban groundwater exploitation that provide for the challenges of groundwater governance. Drawing on the practices revealed across 5 diverse cities in sub-Saharan Africa; the paper highlights the variety of ways that groundwater promotes the resilience of urban areas to water stress. The paper finds that groundwater can accommodate a prevalence of ‘self-supply’ and market-based models as urban populations seek to counter failings in public supply provision. Whilst these actions promote the resilience of the urban setting in the short to medium term, they raise important questions for the longer-term sustainability of the resource. The paper considers the implications of these questions for the future governance of resilient groundwater resources and the role of groundwater as part of a wider strategy for urban resilience.

Abstract

In the social sciences, there has been a ‘posthuman’ turn, which seeks to emphasise the role of non-human agents as co-determining social behaviours. In adopting a ‘more-than-human’ approach, the academy seeks to avoid claims of human exceptionalism and extend the social to other entities. In this paper, we explore the extent to which the more-than-human approach might be applied to groundwater and aquifers and the implications that this may have for groundwater science. The role of groundwater in complex adaptive socio-ecological systems at different scales is increasingly well-documented. Access to groundwater resources positively influences societal welfare and economic development opportunities, particularly in areas where surface waters are scarce. The potential adverse effects of human activities on the quantity or quality of groundwaters are also widely reported. Adopting a ‘properties’ approach, traditional social science perspectives typically describe aquifers as structuring the agency of human actors. To what extent might aquifers also have agency, exhibited in their capacity to act and exert power? Drawing on insights from 5 cities across sub-Saharan Africa, we argue for the agency of aquifers in light of their capacity to evoke change and response in human societies. In doing so, we draw on the concept of the more-than-human to argue for a more conscious consideration of the interaction between the human and non-human water worlds whilst acknowledging the critical role played by researchers in shaping these interactions.

Abstract

Monitoring groundwater storage is conducted in the study. World Health Organisation estimates, about 55 million people affected by drought yearly. However, Surface water holds 0.3 percent of the freshwater, and groundwater holds 30.1 percent of the freshwater. Hence, monitoring groundwater storage is vital. Though the GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) satellite provides global-scale groundwater data, but does not provide any information about changes in groundwater flow systems and has uncertainties, due to large noise produced. A correlation has to be established between gravity changes and groundwater storage variations through a program that simulates the flow of groundwater. The relationship between developed numerical models and data derived from superconducting gravity is imperative. This study is conducted in South African Geodynamic Observatory Sutherland (SAGOS) area at Sutherland, South Africa. The study aims to develop a numerical geohydrological model to monitor subsurface variations in water distribution through superconducting gravimeters (SG) records. The interpretation of the SG measurements to directly compare to one another at a higher resolution is considered in the study, through the correlation of the developed model and installed superconducting gravimetric residual data. A numerical groundwater flow model is developed using model muse on MODFLOW. Assigned boundary conditions, fractured rocks were activated by the model. Hydraulic conductivities were simulated for any layer, including storage coefficient. Hence, hydraulic conductivity is an important aspect of the study. In conclusion, gravity is an excellent tool for measuring groundwater recharge within the immediate vicinity of the SAGOS. This implies that gravity can aid in monitoring groundwater recharge and discharge in semi-arid areas. The application of the hydrological model at various scales comparing the Superconducting Gravimeter and GRACE satellite data is paramount to improve modelling groundwater dynamics. The consideration of developing numerical hydrological to monitor groundwater storage will add much value to missing information.

Abstract

The quality of groundwater is influenced by the chemistry of the rocks through which it migrates. The rock types in an area, particularly their weathered products and rainfall contribute greatly to the chemistry of groundwater. The present study examines the impact of bedrock on the chemistry of groundwater from shallow granite aquifers in Northern Nigeria. Groundwater samples from northeast (Hong), northwest (Zango) and Northcentral (Ogbomosho) were collected and analyzed for relevant water quality parameters. The concentration of fluoride (0.0-3.50) and some heavy metals such as iron (0.3-4.6), nickel (0.1-0.98), copper (0.0-.85), lead (0.001-0.4.0), Manganese (0.00-1.4) and arsenic (0.0-0.76) were slightly higher than their recommended maximum permissible limit in some locations and the observed anomalies can be attributed to geogenic influence as no visible industries are domiciled in these areas. Based on these signatures, the geochemical evolutions of groundwater from the three locations were quantitatively described by the interaction with rock-forming minerals released into the groundwater system through natural processes of weathering and dissolution in the flow-path. This is a testimony to the fact that groundwater can be grossly contaminated with critical elements by natural means. Analyses of rock samples from these locations revealed the presence of nacaphite, a fluoride rich mineral as well as arsenic, nickel, copper, lead and iron. The observed concentration ranges of fluoride and heavy metals are a reflection of the natural background concentration and a landmark in geochemical characterization of groundwater system in these areas. The enrichment trend is in the order of Zango > Hong > Ogbomosho. This implies that the granites in the area are composed of mineral containing these elements. Communities living in the granite/rhyolite dominated region where cases of fluorosis and heavy metal contamination have been observed should discontinue the use of groundwater from the area for domestic and drinking purposes. The Government should provide an alternative source of drinking water for the people.

Abstract

The manner in which municipal and industrial wastes generated are disposed in the urban areas in Nigeria is worrisome. The practice of dumping solid wastes in abandoned burrow-pits or valley and the discharge of liquid wastes directly on soils or surface water without any form of treatment has resulted in soil and water pollution. The continuous release of dangerous gases into the atmosphere by industries unabated has contributed to air pollution. These inadequate waste disposal techniques have created serious environmental and health challenges. Due to increasing population growth rate, urbanization, industrialization and economic growth, there has been a phenomenal increase in the volume of wastes generated daily and handling of these wastes have constituted an environmental problem. The need to manage these wastes in an environmentally-friendly manner that will guarantee safety of the soil and water resources lead to the present study. The newly designed waste management landfill incorporates advanced features such as complex multiple liner construction to facilitate organic decomposition and maintain structural integrity. The multiple protective layers and regular monitoring ensure that the waste management landfills exist in harmony with their surrounding environments and communities. These features that enhances maximum protection of soil and water from contamination by plume by decaying waste is lacking in the un-lined open waste dumps been practiced in the country. Pollution abatement, waste reduction, energy saving, health and economic benefits are some of the advantages of the newly designed sanitary landfill system.

Abstract

Soil and water pollution are major environmental problem facing many coastal regions of the world due to high population, urbanisation and industrialisation. The hydrofacies and water quality of the coastal plain-sand of part of Eastern Niger-Delta, Nigeria, was investigated in this study. Hydrogeological investigations show that the aquifers in the area are largely unconfined sands with intercalations of gravels, clay and shale which are discontinuous and, however, form semi-confined aquifers  in  some  locations.  Pumping  test  results  show  that  the  transmissivity  ranged  between 152.0 m2/day  and  2 835.0 m2/day  with  an  average  value  of  1 026.0 m2/day,  while  the  specific capacity varied between 828.0 m3/day and 15 314.0 m3/day with a mean value of 6 258.0 m3/day. Well-discharge  ranged  between  1 624.0 m3/day  and  7 216.0 m3/day  with  an  average  value  of 3 218.0 m3/day, while hydraulic conductivity varied between 3.2 m/day and 478.4 m/d with a mean value of 98.6 m/day. These findings indicate that the aquifer in the area is porous, permeable and prolific.

The observed wide ranges and high standard deviations and mean in the geochemical data are evidence that there are substantial differences in the quality/composition of the groundwater within the study area. The plot of the major cations and anions on Piper, Durov, and Scholler diagrams indicated six hydrochemical facies in the area: Na-Cl, Ca-Mg-HCO3, Na-Ca-SO4, Ca-Mg-Cl, Na-Fe-Cl and Na-Fe-Cl-NO3. Heavy metal enrichment index revealed 12 elements in the decreasing order of: Fe > Ni > Cu > Zn > Mn > Cd > V > Co > Pb > Cr > As > Hg. The study identified salt intrusion, high iron content, acid-rain, hydrocarbon pollution, use of agrochemicals, industrial effluents and poor sanitation as contributors to the soil and water deterioration in the area. Saltwater–freshwater interface occurs between 5 m to 185 m, while iron-rich water is found between 20 m to 175 m. The first two factors are natural phenomenon due to the proximity of the aquifer to the ocean and probably downward leaching of marcasite contained in the overlying lithology into the shallow water table, while the last four factors are results of various anthropogenic activities domiciled in the area.

The DRASTICA model, a modification of the DRASTIC model, was developed and used in the construction of the aquifer vulnerability map of the area. Modern sanitary landfill that ensures adequate protection for the soil and groundwater was designed and recommended to replace the existing  open-dumpsites.  Owing  to  the  monumental  and  devastating  effects  of  hydrocarbon pollution in the area, the need to eradicate gas-flaring and minimise oil spills in the area was advocated. Bioremediation and phytoremediation techniques were recommended to be applied in the clean-up of soils and water contaminated with hydrocarbon in the area.

 

Abstract

Porosity describes the ratio between the volume of pores, cracks, and fissures and the total volume of a studied geological medium. This notion implies a volume averaging of the medium characteristics using the concept of Representative Elementary Volume (REV). Small volumes can contain only pores, while larger volumes typically contain both pores and fissures. Porosity can be highly scale-dependent, and different porosity values can be measured for the same geological formation. Furthermore, groundwater in the pores and cracks can be partly immobile or mobile. So, the porosity actively involved in groundwater flow can be discussed. A ‘mobile water porosity’ can be defined, but this remains highly dependent on the existing pressure conditions in the geological medium. In unconfined conditions, the term ‘effective porosity’ usually corresponds to the drainage porosity corresponding to the specific yield or storage coefficient. When dealing with solute transport and remediation of contaminated sites, another ‘effective porosity’ is needed to describe the advection velocity of the contaminant. This ‘mobile water porosity’ acting in solute transport processes typically takes lower values than drainage’s ‘effective porosity’. Scale issues must also be expected, as shown by field and lab tracer tests.

The term ‘Darcy velocity’ will be banished herein because it induces much confusion. For clarity, we propose to distinguish ‘drainage effective porosity’ and ‘transport effective porosity’. The physical meaning of both terms is discussed, and examples of supporting observations are presented for illustration and discussion.

Abstract

Groundwater in flooded abandoned mines could be used for geothermal purposes using heat pumps and an open loop involving pumping and re-injection. Hydraulic conductivity values of the mined rock zones have been artificially increased. However, long-term efficiency and the possible impacts of geothermal doublets must be studied involving a series of hydrogeological challenges. Hot water would be pumped from the deep parts of the mine works, and cold water would be re-injected in a shallower gallery or shallow fractured rocks, with a seasonal flow inversion for building cooling during the hot season. Indeed, a ‘short-cut’ groundwater flow is to be avoided between the mine’s deep and shallow parts. The true geometry of the interconnected network of open galleries and shafts can be highly complex and must be conceptualized realistically to ensure that the model is feasible and reliable.

This model must involve groundwater flow and heat transport, with temperature-dependent density and viscosity, in a complex 3D heterogeneous domain of highly fractured rocks and partially collapsed exploitation zones, galleries, and shafts. Such a model is nevertheless widely recommended to design and optimize the short--, mid-, and long-term efficiency of the geothermal system and assess possible environmental impacts. An example of simulations on a synthetic case will be used for illustration and preparation work before further application in a real case study.

Abstract

Simple and cost-effective techniques are needed for land managers to assess and quantify the environmental impacts of hydrocarbon contamination. During the case study, hydrocarbon plume delineation was carried out using hydrogeological and geophysical techniques at a retail filling station located in Gauteng.

Laboratory and controlled spill experiments, using fresh hydrocarbon product, indicate that fresh hydrocarbons generally have a high electrical resistivity, whilst biodegraded hydrocarbons have a lower resistivity. This is attributed to the changes from electrically resistive to conductive behaviour with time due to biodegradation. As such, it should be possible to effectively delineate the subsurface hydrocarbon plume using two-dimensional (2D) Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT). As part of the case study, two traverses were conducted using an Electric Resistivity Tomography (ERT) survey with an ABEM SAS1000 Lund imaging system. The resultant 2D tomographs were interpreted based on the resistivity characteristics and subsurface material properties to delineate the plume. Localised resistivity highs were measured in both models and are representative of fresh hydrocarbons whereas areas of low resistivity represented areas of biodegraded hydrocarbons.

More conventional plume delineation techniques in the form of intrusive soil vapour and groundwater vapour surveys as well as hydrochemical anlayses of the on-site monitoring wells were used to compare the results and to construct the detailed Conceptual Site Model. During the investigation, four existing monitoring wells located on the site and additional two wells were installed downgradient of the Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) in order to determine the extent of the plume.

In conclusion, a comparison was found between the groundwater results and geophysical data obtained during the case study and it was concluded that ERT added a significant contribution to the Conceptual Site Model.

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

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

Static indicator tests, such as acid-base accounting, are commonly used to provide an indication of ARD potential of backfill material in opencast coal mines. This potential for acidity is then commonly incorporated into numerical models, wrongfully, as a constant contamination source with the maximum possible sulphate being released from the pit, ad infinitum, which is, obviously, not the case. Dynamic tests on the other hand, are considered superior, but are expensive and time consuming. The proposed alternative approach is geochemical modelling, illustrated by a case study in the Mpumalanga coal fields. A decommissioned colliery near Carolina, Mpumalanga, was recently confronted with the prediction of the impacts that its backfilled opencasts might have on groundwater in the long term with regards to acid and contaminant generation, demanding a more realistic and well-defined conceptual and numerical approach than the simple minimum screening method. This study utilised the integration of a well-defined conceptual model, mineralogical data, acid-base accounting data, leaching test data, literature and groundwater monitoring data to address the long term hydrogeochemical evolution of groundwater at the colliery, using transiently calibrated geochemical and numerical flow models. Using the mineralogical data available from samples collected, as well as the sulphur content identified by ABA, a standard error was calculated for the abundances of all mineral phases present along with mean weight percentages, defining the likely boundaries of mineral abundances. Using these values along with reactive surface areas calculated from average grain sizes, using a collapsing core model, as well as rate constants from literature, the fluid rock interaction in the leaching tests was simulated and calibrated against leaching test results in the geochemical model, by varying mineral abundances, reactive surface areas and rate constants within the statistically acceptable boundaries. Once a calibrated mineral assemblage was identified using this method, the assemblage was geochemically modelled in the natural environment, after calculation of fluid to rock ratios, which in this case was purely potential backfill porosity vs. recharge due to the natural groundwater level being below the pit base, as well as potential oxygen fugacity. The calculated concentrations of constituents were then introduced into a transiently calibrated numerical flow and transport model via recharge concentrations, to also chemically calibrate this model. The chemical calibration was successful within a 20 mg/L range, illustrating the reliability of the conceptual and geochemical models, but also the reliability of predicted numerical modelling results. Based on the available data and modelling results, the colliery would not have a future impact on groundwater with regards to ARD and metals. However, elevated major cation and anion concentrations are expected, calculated within order of magnitude accuracy, and can be managed according to dynamic and realistic models, instead of a static worst case scenario.

Abstract

The management of groundwater inflows into an opencast colliery in Mpumalanga is normally fairly easily achievable due to low inflow volumes and high evaporation rates. But, when flooded underground mine workings are encountered, groundwater inflow complexity increases dramatically. Understanding, predicting and managing groundwater inflow under these conditions can be challenging and highly complex. While normal opencast inflows are easily modelled these connected mines are pushing numerical models to their limits. This case study aims to illustrate an approach based on a finite difference model that has been used successfully in a South African coal mine. Based on a study at a colliery near Ermelo, Mpumalanga, the understanding and conceptualisation of the aquifer geometry, geological structures, hydrogeology, defunct underground mine geometry and interconnection between opencasts and the underground, proved to be vital, not only in calibration of the model, but also in the construction of the various layers and calculation of flow volumes between the various sources and sinks. This also aided greatly in constant source contaminant transport modelling to trace which mining areas may have a contamination effect on each other or the surrounding aquifer. In constructing the numerical flow model, the underground mine geometry was found to intersect various layers in the MODFLOW based model and pinching out in some areas. Due to the requirement of MODFLOW that layers should be continuous with no pinchouts to the model boundaries, this presented a notable challenge in the model construction. Therefore, mine geometry was divided into various slices, fitting within the hydrogeological layers, but still retaining the original geometry. The layers were then further divided laterally using different materials to represent the mine hydraulic properties and aquifer properties respectively, ensuring that the lateral distribution of materials also represents the underground mine geometry accurately. Using this model construction, the calculated mean residual head for the simulation of the current situation was found to be less than 3m while the simulation of the current mining situation with no underground mine present, yielded a mean residual head of approximately 10m. Additionally, inflows measured in the opencast penetrating the underground were measured at approximately 1000m3/d while the calibrated model calculated inflows of 1160m3/d, while simulating the current mining situation including the defunct underground. The current decant from the defunct underground, to the southeast of the site, was calculated as 1.9 L/s by the model while the measured rate was just over 1 L/s. Also, as expected, the dewatering of the opencast penetrating the flooded, defunct underground mine, was calculated to predominantly impact an underground mine compartment, isolated by underground seals, as opposed to the aquifer, which has a much lower hydraulic conductivity. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

The importance of groundwater in South Africa has become evident over the past decades, especially as pressure on surface water resources intensifies in response to increasing water supply demands. Research has significantly progressed on the shallow groundwater resources conventionally used for water supply, and leading on from this deeper groundwater resources have become a focus point as a future water source. This focus on deep aquifers is driven by new developments, such as shale gas development, injection of brines into deep aquifers, carbon sequestration and geothermal energy. The understanding of deep groundwater in South Africa is often limited due to insufficient data at these depths. To develop a body of knowledge on deep geohydrology in South Africa, an investigation on the currently available information was launched to assess potential deep groundwater resources. The investigation formed part of the larger WRC Project K5/2434 (Characterisation and Protection of Potential Deep Aquifers in South Africa). The geology of South Africa was reviewed from a deep groundwater perspective to provide an initial analysis of potential deep groundwater aquifers. The main potential deep aquifers were identified for further investigation using a ranking system, where Rank 1 shows a positive indication, Rank 2 shows some indication, Rank 3 shows a neutral indication, and Rank 4 shows a negative indication for deep groundwater systems. The Rank 1 geological groups include (in no particular order): the Limpopo Belt, Witwatersrand Supergroup, Transvaal Supergroup, Waterberg and Soutpansberg Groups, Natal Group, Cape Supergroup, Karoo Supergroup. In a number of the identified potential deep aquifers, the indicator for deep groundwater flow systems was the presence of thermal springs. Additionally, deep groundwater occurs below the traditionally exploited weathered zone, and the importance of fractured aquifers becomes paramount in the investigation of potential deep aquifers. In conclusion, three main components were considered for the investigation of potential deep aquifers systems, 1) geological groups; 2) thermal springs and 3) depth of fractures. These three components should be used holistically going forward to best characterise the potential deep aquifers of South Africa.

Abstract

A coal mine in South Africa had reached decant levels after mine flooding, where suspected mine water was discharging on the ground surface. Initial investigations had indicted a low-risk of decant, but when ash-backfilling was performed in the defunct underground mine, decant occurred. Ash-backfilling was immediately suspended as it was thought to have over-pressurised the system and caused decant. Contrariwise, a number of years later decant was still occurring even though ash-backfilling had been terminated. An investigation was launched to determine whether it was the ash-backfilling which had solely caused decant, or if additional contributing factors existed. Understanding the mine water decant is further complicated by the presence of underlying dolomites which when intersected during mining produced significant inflows into the underground mine workings. Furthermore, substantial subsidence has taken place over the underground mine area. These factors combined with the inherent difficulty of understanding unseen groundwater, produced a proverbial 1000-piece puzzle. Numerical groundwater modelling was a natural choice for evaluating the complex system of inter-related processes. A pre-mining model simulated the water table at the ground surface near the currently decanting area, suggesting this area was naturally susceptible for seepage conditions. The formation of a pathway from the mine to the ground surface combined with the natural susceptibility of the system may have resulted in the mine water decant. This hypothesis advocates that mine water was going to decant in this area, regardless of ash backfilling. The numerical groundwater flow model builds a case for this hypothesis from 1) the simulated upward flow in the pre-mining model and 2) the groundwater level is simulated above the surface near the currently decanting area. A mining model was then utilised to run four scenarios, investigating the flux from the dolomites, subsidence, ash-backfilling and a fault within the opencast mine. The ash-backfilling scenario model results led to the formation of the hypothesis that completing the ash-backfilling could potentially reduce the current decant volumes, which is seemingly counterintuitive. The numerical model suggested that the current ash-backfill areas reduce the groundwater velocity and could potentially reduce the decant volumes; in spite of its initial contribution to the mine water decant which is attributed to incorrect water abstraction methods. In conclusion, the application of numerical models to improve the understanding of complex systems is essential, because the result of interactions within a complex system are not intuitive and in many cases require mathematical simulation to be fully understood.

Abstract

The complexity of real world systems inspire scientists to continually advance methods used to represent these systems as knowledge and technology advances. This fundamental principle has been applied to groundwater transport, a real world problem where the current understanding often cannot describe what is observed in nature. There are two main approaches to improve the simulation of groundwater transport in heterogeneous systems, namely 1) improve the physical characterisation of the heterogeneous system, or 2) improve the formulation of the governing equations used to simulate the system. The latter approach has been pursued by incorporating fractal and fractional derivatives into the governing equation formulation, as well as combining fractional and fractal derivatives. A fractal advection-dispersion equation, with numerical integration and approximation methods for solution, is explored to simulate anomalous transport in fractured aquifer systems. The fractal advection-dispersion equation has been proven to simulate superdiffusion and subdiffusion by varying the fractal dimension, without explicit characterisation of fractures or preferential pathways. A fractional-fractal advection-dispersion equation has also been developed to provide an efficient non-local modelling tool. The fractional-fractal model provides a flexible tool to model anomalous diffusion, where the fractional order controls the breakthrough curve peak, and the fractal dimension controls the position of the peak and tailing effect. These two controls potentially provide the tools to improve the representation of anomalous breakthrough curves that cannot be described by the classical-equation model. In conclusion, the use of fractional calculus and fractal geometry to achieve the collective mission of resolving the difference between modelled and observed is explored for the better understanding and management of fractured systems.

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

South Africa's water legislation of has often been deemed 'progressive', yet implementation of policies can be weak in terms of groundwater - a resource inherently more difficult to govern than surface water due to its invisibility, difficulties in mapping, the long timescales involved and its ties to land tenure. Furthermore, shallow, hard rock aquifers are frequently perceived as "self-controlling" by their users and thus not requiring active management. This view is however not optimal in areas with a large dependence on groundwater for livelihoods invoking the question what happens between the periods of over-abstraction and the recharge events that replenish them? There is a need for better management, particularly in light of climate variability when recharge episodes can be infrequent and drought can lead to extra calls on aquifers.

Seasonal climate forecasts have the potential to provide information to contribute to groundwater management strategies. This study focuses on the case of Dendron in Limpopo Province. Numerous consultancy reports have been released over the past few decades regarding the over-exploitation of groundwater due to the area's long history of potato cultivation via groundwater-irrigation. The primary aim of this study is to determine the potential contribution of seasonal forecast information in the Dendron area for agricultural groundwater management, given insights to the needs of commercial farmers in the area the dominant users of groundwater. We examine the effectiveness of formal and informal groundwater management strategies in the area and then consider current use of seasonal forecasts and their potential value for decision-making. We also highlight the need for a better understanding of the role of seasonal climate variability in groundwater systems to understand their potential as climate buffers during periods of drought. Insights will be drawn from interviews with farmers and representatives from the Department of Water and Sanitation, and a needs-analysis workshop with the farming community. Constraints and barriers to uptake are also investigated, looking at factors such as data quality and availability, timing of forecasts, perceptions of forecasts, and their communication.

Abstract

The significance of a reliable groundwater resource assessment is of growing importance as water resources are stretched to accommodate the growing population. An essential component of a groundwater resource assessment is the quantification of surface water–groundwater interaction. The  insufficient  amount  of  data  in  South  Africa  and  the  apparent  lack  of  accuracy  of  current estimates of the groundwater component of baseflow lead to the investigation of a new method. This applicability of this new approach, the Mixing Cell Model (MCM), to quantify the groundwater contribution to baseflow is examined to assess whether the method would be of use in further groundwater resource assessments. The MCM simultaneously solves water and solute mass balance equations  to  determine  unknown  inflows  to  a  system,  in  this  application  the  groundwater component of baseflow. The incorporation of water quality data into the estimation of the surface water–groundwater  interaction  increases the  use of  available  data,  and  thus has  the  ability to increase the confidence in the estimation process. The mixing cell model is applied to datasets from the surface water–groundwater interaction test site developed by the University of the Free State, in addition to data collected along the middle Modder River during a fieldwork survey. The MCM is subsequently applied to a set of quaternary catchments in the Limpopo Province for which there are available calibrated estimates of the groundwater component of baseflow for the Sami and Hughes models. The MCM is further applied to the semi-arid quaternary catchment D73F to assess the applicability of the mathematically-based MCM in a flow system within a regionally-defined zero groundwater  baseflow  zone.  The  results  indicate  that  the  MCM  can  reliably  estimate  the groundwater component of baseflow to a river when sufficient data are available. Use of the MCM has  the  potential  to  evaluate  as  well  as  increase  the  confidence  of  currently  determined groundwater baseflow volumes in South Africa, which will in turn ensure the responsible and sustainable use of the countries water resources.

Abstract

Industrial areas are major sources of surface and groundwater pollution. As a result, constant monitoring of water quality is of vital importance to detect pollution incidences in time and to take corrective actions. This integrated hydrogeological, hydrochemical and environmental isotopes (?2H, ?18O, 3H) study has been undertaken to investigate the hydrogeological conditions around the Kusile coal-fired power station located in the quaternary catchment B20F. The study area is characterized by mainly weathered and fractured and fractured aquifer systems. The weathered and fractured aquifers are made up of the Ecca Group shale lithologies, with weathering depths ranging between 5 and 12 m below ground surface (b.g.l.), while the fractured aquifer system is made up of the Pretoria Group quartzites, chert and shale units. Both aquifer systems have borehole yields ranging from 0.1 to 2 L/s. The depth to groundwater ranges from few cms to 22.7 m, with an average depth of 7.6 m b.g.l. Regional groundwater flow direction is from south-east to north-west, following the topographic gradient. The hydrochemical analysis from 25 boreholes, 6 springs, and 19 surface water points show electrical conductivity (EC) values less than 70 mS/m, pH values in the range from 5.2 to 9.6. High concentrations of Fe, Mn and Zn were measured in some samples that have high turbidity (> 5 NTU). The hydrochemical data shows six hydro-chemical facies with Mg-HCO3 as the most dominant indicating a shallow circulating less evolved recharge area groundwater. Multivariate statistical methods in the form of factor and cluster analyses were applied in the analyses of the hydrochemical data collected. The results of Factor analysis indicated three factors which explained 81.5% of the total variance in the hydrochemical data. The first factor is characterised by strong loadings of EC, Mg, SO42-, Ca, and Cl which could explain the contribution of the major ions to the salinity. The second factor has high positive loadings of Fe, turbidity, and a strong negative loading of dissolved oxygen indicating reducing conditions. Factor three shows high positive loadings of HCO3-, pH and Na, where the positive correlation of HCO3- and pH shows carbonate buffering on the pH of the system. The Hierarchial Cluster Analysis subdivided the samples into two clusters and two sub-clusters. Cluster 1 is dominated by surface water samples which are characterised by elevated concentration of HCO3-, turbidity, and SO42-. The second cluster has two sub-clusters. Cluster C-2-1 is characterised by lower Cl and K concentrations while cluster C-2-2 contains boreholes which are dominated by Mg-HCO3 water type. Environmental isotope data indicates that groundwater recharge is from a mixture between sub-modern and recent precipitation. Four surface water samples along a stream line show a similar isotopic signature as the groundwater samples indicative of an interaction between the groundwater and surface water. The preliminary results of the inorganic hydrochemical data doesn't indicate pollution from the Kusile coal-fired Power Station.