Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

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Abstract

Previous studies have shown that river-aquifer connectivity exists. However, an integrated approach that consists of multiple measuring methods to quantify and characterise such connectivity still needs improved scientific understanding due to the underlying principles and assumptions of such methods, mainly when such methods are applied in a semi-arid environment. Three techniques (hydrogeochemistry, stable water isotopes, and baseflow separations) were applied to quantify and characterize river-aquifer interactions. The study’s objective was to improve knowledge and understanding of the implications of the results from the three methods. Field measurement, laboratory assessment, and record review were used to collect primary and secondary data. Results showed that Na- HCO3 water type dominated the upper stream, discharging onto the surface and forming stream sources. Na-HCO3 water type was an outlier when the area’s geology and land use activities were assessed. The isotope results showed that the studied aquifer had 9% recently recharged water. Being the upstream, the freshwater in such a mountainous aquifer was expected. The baseflow index (BFI) results showed that the dependency of the total river flow to aquifer discharge contributed 7.24 % in the upper stream, 7.31% in the middle stream, and 7.32% in the lower stream. These findings provided empirical evidence that hydrochemistry, stable isotopes, and baseflow separation methods provide key insights into aquifer-stream connectivity. Such findings inform choosing appropriate and relevant measures for protecting, monitoring, and allocating water resources in the catchments.

Abstract

In recent years, practical applications of vector and raster multi-layers overlay analysis to enhance outcomes of conventional hydrogeological methods for allocation of productive boreholes have been applied in arid and semi-arid lands and is currently being tested in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Angola in cooperation with UNICEF. Advanced Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques combined with traditional geological, hydrogeological and geophysical methods are being used for improved access to sustainable drinking water supply boreholes in the scope of a WASH program. Identifying suitable areas with a good potential for sustainable groundwater resources exploitation mainly depends on a) consistent/reliable aquifer recharge and b) favourable hydrogeological conditions for groundwater abstraction. Multi-layer analyses and attribution of layer scores to the hydrogeological information layers – aquifer recharge, aquifer class, lineaments, slope, land cover, and presence of streams – combine into a qualitative Groundwater Suitability Map, using pairwise comparison (weights) to determine their relative importance with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Additionally, traditional field methods enhance the quality of outputs and delineate Target Areas for detailed investigations: validation of hydrogeological conceptual models, hydrogeological assessment, groundwater sampling and finally, geophysical methods. Downscaling the remote sensed information of the groundwater suitability map with field verifications is required to recommend borehole drilling sites. The engagement of stakeholders is vital for the data collection and validation of the weighting criteria analyses (AHP method), as well as for the cooperation on the ground, validation of the Target Areas selection and implementation.

Abstract

Global warming affects atmospheric and oceanic energy budgets, modifying the Earth’s water cycle with consequent changes to precipitation patterns. The effects on groundwater discharge are still uncertain at a global and local scale. The most critical step to assess future spring flow scenarios is quantifying the recharge-discharge connection. This research aims to predict the long-term effects of climate change on the discharge of seven main springs with long hydrologic series of discharge values located in different hydrogeological settings along the Apenninic chain (Italy). The investigated springs are strategic for either public water supply or mineral water bottling. The Apennines stretch along the Italian peninsula in a Northwest-Southeast direction, crossing the Mediterranean area that represents a critical zone for climate change due to a decreased recharge and increased frequency and severity of droughts over the last two to three decades. In this communication, the data of one of the chosen springs, called Ermicciolo (42°55’25.8”N, 11°38’29.5”E; 1020 m ASL), discharging out from the volcanic aquifer of Mount Amiata, are presented. Statistical and numerical tools have been applied to analyse the time series of recharge-related parameters in the spring’s contribution area and the spring discharge from 1939 to 2022. To estimate the impact of climate change on the Ermicciolo’s outflow, a regional atmospheric circulation model has been downscaled to the spring catchment area and used to derive the expected discharge at the 2040-2060 time span, according to the build-up data-driven model of the recharge-discharge relationship in the past.

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

Various electrical potential difference-audio magnetotelluric (EPD-AMT) geophysical equipment is now available in the market for groundwater exploration, and the Groundwater Detector is one of them. Due to their low cost, deeper penetration, and real-time measurement, the technology has been widely received in many developing and underdeveloped countries. However, research to understand the application of the EPD-AMT surface geophysics approach in groundwater exploration is very limited. This research gap needs urgent attention to promote the technology’s meaningful and wider application. The lack of published case studies to demonstrate the capabilities of the EPD-AMT approach is a limiting factor to its application.

Research on different hydrogeological settings is paramount as part of the efforts to improve the practical understanding of the application of the EPD-AMT geophysical approach in groundwater exploration. This study shares field experience from applying the EPD-AMT Groundwater Detector geophysical technique to explore groundwater in dolomite, granite, and Karoo sandstone hardrock aquifers in Southern Africa.

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

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

This study describes a novel methodology for predicting spring hydrographs based on Regional Climate Model (RCM) projections to evaluate climate change impact on karstic spring discharge. A combined stochastic-analytical modelling methodology was developed and demonstrated on the Bukovica karst spring catchment at the Durmitor National Park, Montenegro. As a first step, climate model projections of the EURO-CORDEX ensemble were selected, and bias correction was applied based on historical climate data. The regression function between rainfall and peak discharge was established using historical data.

The baseflow recession was described using a double-component exponential model, where hydrograph decomposition and parameter fitting were performed on the Master Recession Curve. Rainfall time series from two selected RCM scenarios were applied to predict future spring discharge time series. Bias correction of simulated hydrographs was performed, and bias-corrected combined stochastic-analytical models were applied to predict spring hydrographs based on RCM simulated rainfall data. Simulated climate scenarios predict increasing peak discharges and decreasing baseflow discharges throughout the 21st century. Model results suggest that climate change will likely exaggerate the extremities regarding climate parameters and spring discharge by the end of the century. The annual number of drought days shows a large variation over time. Extremely dry years are periodic, with a frequency between 5-7 years. The number of drought days seems to increase over time during these extreme years. The study confirmed that the applied methodology can successfully be applied for spring discharge prediction

Abstract

Knowledge of the nature and extent of groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDE) at an aquifer scale enables incorporating ecological water requirements in integrated groundwater resource management activities, including transboundary aquifer cases (TBA). This way, sustainable groundwater management and functional ecosystem services can be achieved. Therefore, understanding groundwater- ecosystems-surface water interactions is crucial for assessing resources’ resilience or susceptibility towards certain impacts. Unfortunately, this subject is widely under-researched with fragmented information, especially in southern Africa. This study was thus initiated to understand groundwater processes controlling the maintenance of Tuli-Karoo TBA (Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe) GDEs towards developing a model that can be utilised in impact assessments, especially in climate change. The employed approach included stable isotope analysis (mainly 2 H and 18O) for groundwater, streams, springs, rainwater, vegetation, and soil; spatial imagery and GIS classification (incl. NDVI, NDRE, NDWI); and plant moisture stress techniques. Identified GDEs in the study area (characterized by intergranular alluvium aquifer underlain by the Karoo sandstone of intergranular and fractured secondary aquifer type) are riparian vegetation, floodplain and depression wetlands, and springs. Precipitation recharged alluvium aquifer’s contribution to Limpopo River baseflow is negligible as the discharge is mainly through springs and evapotranspiration. Monitoring data scarcity and skewed availability among sharing countries hamper research and its output applicability to TBA’s entirety. Therefore, data generation, exchange, and joint databases development are crucial for sustainable comanagement of groundwater and supported ecosystems and science-based decision-making.

Abstract

Unicef is the WASH sector lead globally and is, present at the country level, the main counterpart of government, especially regarding the component of the water balance utilised for potable safe water supplies. This mandate means that Unicef then has a role in looking at water resources nationally and not just as individual projects, and in doing so, contributes to good water governance as an integral part of system strengthening. Ensure this is done in partnership with other ministries and stakeholders that support them through advocacy for humanitarian and developmental access and support in technical areas such as groundwater assessments and monitoring. The focus on groundwater is especially linked with the fact that groundwater plays a major role due to its buffering capacity to climate variations, easier access and global coverage. Since groundwater is the most significant component of accessible freshwater resources, it is in the interest of UNICEF to make this resource more visible to meet both development and humanitarian goals, strengthen national systems and ultimately build resilience in mitigating water scarcity to scale or at the National level. Therefore, examples will be presented where Unicef has engaged on this journey with nations such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Mozambique and Rwanda to understand their water resources better. The overall objective at the National level is to adapt the capacity to withstand and recover as quickly as possible from external stresses and shocks or build resilience.

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

The current study investigates the spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of the groundwater and surface water interactions for integrated water resource management practices. This follows the results of the groundwater flow conceptual and numerical models developed for the Middle Letaba sub-catchment, indicating that groundwater and surface water interactions play a fundamental role in determining the hydrological water balance. The study area is an example of a fully allocated surface water resource in the northeastern part of South Africa, extensively developed for domestic use and agricultural farming. As a result of the semi-arid nature of the climate, limited surface water resources and increasing water demand, the situation has contributed to groundwater as the only dependable source of water supply for various uses. However, in the last few decades, periodic water level measurements in several boreholes indicated a continuous drop in the piezometric surface over time. This study utilised HydroGeoSphere to simulate water flow processes in a fully integrated and physically based model.

The results of the steady-state groundwater flow simulation indicated that recharge from the rainfall and river leakages are the most important components of the inflows that control the availability of groundwater. Water resources management scenarios suggest a continuous decline in water level, which strongly influences the groundwater flow dynamics and future availability of fresh water. Regular monitoring and management of groundwater level and abstraction are required to avoid overexploitation and possible groundwater contamination due to the strong interaction between surface water and groundwater.

Abstract

Mt. Fuji is the iconic centrepiece of a large, tectonically active volcanic watershed (100 km2 ), which plays a vital role in supplying safe drinking water to millions of people through groundwater and numerous freshwater springs. Situated at the top of the sole known continental triple-trench junction, the Fuji watershed experiences significant tectonic instability and pictures complex geology. Recently, the conventional understanding of Mt. Fuji catchment being conceptually simple, laminar groundwater flow system with three isolated aquifers was challenged: the combined use of noble gases, vanadium, and microbial eDNA as measured in different waters around Fuji revealed the presence of substantial deep groundwater water upwelling along Japan’s tectonically most active fault system, the Fujikawa Kako Fault Zone [1]. These findings call for even deeper investigations of the hydrogeology and the mixing dynamics within large-scale volcanic watersheds, typically characterized by complex geologies and extensive networks of fractures and faults. In our current study, we approach these questions by integrating existing and emerging methodologies, such as continuous, high-resolution monitoring of dissolved gases (GE-MIMS [2]) and microbes [3], eDNA, trace elements, and integrated 3-D hydrogeological modelling [4]. The collected tracer time series and hydraulic and seismic observations are used to develop an integrated SW-GW flow model of the Mt. Fuji watershed. Climate change projections will further inform predictive modelling and facilitate the design of resilient and sustainable water resource management strategies in tectonically active volcanic regions

Abstract

The Galápagos Archipelago (Ecuador), traditionally considered a living museum and a showcase of evolution, is increasingly subject to anthropogenic pressures affecting the local population who has to deal with the challenges of accessing safe and sustainable water resources. Over the years, numerous national and international projects have attempted to assess the impact of human activities on both the water quality and quantity in the islands. However, the complexity of the stakeholders’ structure (i.e., multiple agents with competing interests and overlapping functions) and the numerous international institutions and agencies temporarily working in the islands make information sharing and coordination particularly challenging. A comprehensive assessment of water quality data (physico-chemical parameters, major elements, trace elements and coliforms) collected since 1985 in the Santa Cruz Island revealed the need to optimise monitoring efforts to fill knowledge gaps and better target decision-making processes. Results from a participatory approach involving all stakeholders dealing with water resources highlighted the gaps and potentials of water resources management in complex environments. Particularly, it demonstrated the criticalities related to data acquisition, sustainability of the monitoring plan and translation of scientific outcomes into common ground policies for water protection.

Shared procedures for data collection, sample analysis, evaluation and data assessment by an open-access geodatabase were proposed and implemented for the first time as a prototype to improve accountability and outreach towards civil society and water users. The results reveal the high potential of a well-structured and effective joint monitoring approach within a complex, multi-stakeholder framework.

Abstract

The research aims to reveal possible ways of formation of the chemical composition of mineral and fresh groundwater in Quaternary sediments of the coastal plain of Northern Sinai. Statistical assessment of the distribution of various hydrochemical indicators of mineral and fresh groundwater has been carried out according to the following data samples: 1) the general population for all Quaternary deposits (164 wells); 2) the central zone (74 wells); the eastern zone (25 wells); the western zone (65 wells). The following variables were assessed: total dissolved solids (TDS) (in ppm), concentrations of major components (in epm and % epm), pH value and the depth of the sampled well (ds) (in meters). The physicochemical equilibria between the groundwater and rock–forming carbonate and sulfate minerals were calculated using the PHREEQC software. Saturation indices (SI) for groundwater of three zones in relation to various rock-forming minerals were analyzed. Correlation relationships were obtained for TDS, major components and some genetic coefficients ((Requ=(Na++K+)/ (Ca2++Mg2+); Na+/Cl-; SO4 2-/Cl-; Ca2+/SO4 2-). It was concluded that the groundwater chemical composition is defined by infiltration recharge and/or intrusion of Mediterranean seawater.

Most likely, during short-term flood periods, the infiltration into aquifers significantly exceeds the evaporation. Despite the relatively high evaporation rate, the degree of groundwater metamorphization is below the saturation level in relation to sulfates and carbonates. The research is of great practical importance for assessing freshwater resources to provide potable water supply

Abstract

A mapping series was generated using the Vanrhynsdorp aquifer system to illustrate an improved standardization groundwater monitoring status reporting, that includes a progressive conceptual site model linked with spatial and temporal groundwater monitoring network assessment on an aquifer scale. The report consists of 4 segments: Base map provides a conceptual site model of a groundwater resource unit (GRU) delineating an area of 1456 km2 representing the geology and geological structures that make up the Vanrhynsdorp aquifer system.

The Groundwater Availability Map illustrated over a long-term trend analysis, the measured water levels indicate an 83% decreasing trend over an average period of 21.83 years, the water levels have declined by an average linear progression of 11.54 m (ranging 0.48-35.76 m) or 0.64 m per year, which equates to an estimated decline in storage of 218 Tm3 - 21 Mm3 within the GRU. The Groundwater EC map illustrated over the long-term analysis of an average period 24 years the average EC ranged between 57 - 791 mS/m, with certain areas tracking at a constant increasing trend beyond 1200 mS/m. The Groundwater Quality Characterization map provides EC contours and spatial Stiff diagram plots. The Stiff diagrams illustrate three aquifer water types namely, Na-Cl (Table Mountain Group Sandstones), Na-Cl with high SO4 concentration (Blouport and Aties Formation) and Na-Cl-HCO3 (Widouw Formation). These four segments of information products inform Resource Quality Objectives and the need for surveillance monitoring in conjunction with annual compliance monitoring and enforcement groundwater use audits.

Abstract

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR), the purposeful recharge of water to aquifers for subsequent recovery, is used globally to replenish over-exploited groundwater resources and to prevent saltwater intrusion. Due to increased water shortage worldwide, there is a growing interest in using unconventional water resources for MAR such as reclaimed water or surface water impaired by wastewater discharges. This, however, raises major concerns related to pollution of our drinking water resources. MARSA is a new Danish-South African research project aiming at developing MAR technologies allowing a broader span of water resources to be used for MAR, including storm water, river water, saline water, and even treated wastewater. It is hypothesised that improved removal of organic pollutants, nitrogen species, antibiotic resistance, and pathogens can be achieved by establishment of reactive barriers or creation of different redox environments through injection of oxidizing agents to anaerobic aquifers during recharge. In MARSA we will carry out feasibility studies, as flow-through columns, first in Denmark and later in South Africa, to investigate the capacity of South African aquifer sediments to remove organic pollutants, nitrogen species, antibiotic resistance genes, and pathogens. Then, based on these studies, MAR options will be further investigated at field conditions in South Africa using real source water from MAR sites. For this presentation we will give an overview of the MARSA-project and show results from previous feasibility studies investigating the potential of reactive barriers to remove organic micropollutants and ammonium. These studies have shown that establishment of reactive barriers will cause oxygen depletion, but also more efficient ammonium and organic micro-pollutant removal. MARSA is funded by the DANIDA fellowship centre, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Project no. 20-M03GEUS.

Abstract

The water quality in the crystalline rocks of the Johannesburg and its environs has been severely altered by the mining activity. Due to freshwater scarcity and dependency of the people on the groundwater, it is important to understand the extent of hydrogeochemical footprint in the area. The water quality characteristic has been thoroughly assessed in the crystalline aquifers based on the input from hydrogeochemical characteristics and environmental isotopes. The results show that the calculated dilution factor for acid-mine decant is in the range of 68% as a result of interaction with surrounding fresh water. The SO4/Cl ratio has a wide range of values that falls between 0 an306.37, while that of Fe/Ca ratio falls between 0 and 5.59. High SO4/Cl values potentially indicate thinterference of acid-mine decant with the groundwater system traced through sulphate concentration. Similarly, a high Fe/Ca ratio also indicates the impact of acid-mine decant on the groundwater system where iron is traced with respect to calcium concentration. In this regard the ratios above 0,25 (with the assumption of 1 to 4 natural abundance for Fe:Ca in water in the area) could potentially represent acid-mine decant source.The results confirm that most of the water- supply wells have heterogeneous chemistry with distinctive hydrogeochemical footprint represented by abnormally high Fe, SO4 and Si as a result of acid-mine decant.

Abstract

Access to safe water is not yet universal in Burkina because 30% of Burkinabes do not yet have access to drinking water. The objective of universal access to drinking water (ODD 6.1) is difficult to achieve in the context of population growth and climate change. Basement rocks underline 80% of Burkina Faso. However, about 40% of the boreholes drilled in the Burkina Faso basement rocks do not deliver enough water (Q < 0.2l/s) and are discarded. This study focuses on determining the appropriate hydrogeological target that can be searched to improve the currently low drilling success rate.

We set up a well-documented new database of 2150 boreholes based on borehole drilling, pumping tests, geophysical measurements, and geological analysis results. Our first results show that the success rate at 0.2l/s (i.e. 700 l/h) is 63% at the end of the drilling against 54% at the end of borehole development: the yield of 8% of the boreholes lowers significantly after only a few hours of development. We also found that the yield of the water intakes encountered during the drilling process slightly decreases with depth; beyond 60m, it is rare (only 15% of cases) to find water occurrences. We found clear relationships between the productivity of the borehole (yield after drilling and transmissivity obtained from the pumping test) and the thickness of the weathering rocks, indicating that the appropriate target to obtain a productive borehole is a regolith of about 35 meters thick.

Abstract

2-D Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and hydrochemical study have been conducted at El Sadat industrial city. The study aims at investigating the area around the waste water ponds to determine the possibility of water percolation from the wastewater (oxidation) ponds to the Pleistocene aquifer and to inspect the effect of this seepage on the groundwater chemistry. Pleistocene aquifer is the main groundwater reservoir in this area, where El Sadat city and its vicinities depend totally on this aquifer for water supplies needed for drinking, agricultural and industrial activities. In this concern, 7 ERT profiles were measured around the wastewater ponds.

Besides, 10 water samples were collected from the ponds and the nearby groundwater wells. The water samples have been chemically analyzed for major cations (Ca+2, Na+, K+, Mg+2), major anions (Cl-, CO3-2, HCO3-, SO4-2), nutrients (NO2-, NO3-, PO4-3) and heavy elements (Cd, V, Cr, Zn, Ni, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb). Also, the physical parameters (pH, Alkalinity, EC, TDS) of the water samples were measured. Inspection of the ERT sections shows that they exhibit lower resistivity values towards the water ponds and higher values in opposite sides. Also, the water table was detected at shallower depths at the same sides of lower resistivity. This could indicate a wastewater infiltration to the groundwater aquifer near the oxidation ponds. Correlation of the physical parameters and ionic concentrations of the wastewater (ponds) samples with those of the groundwater samples indicates that; the ionic levels are randomly varying and no specific trend could be obtained. Also, the wastewater samples shows some ionic levels lower than those detected in other groundwater samples. Besides, the nitrate level is higher in samples taken from the cultivated land than the wastewater samples due to the over using of nitrogen fertilizers. Then, we can say that the infiltrated water from wastewater ponds are NOT the main controller of the groundwater chemistry in this area, but rather the variable ionic concentrations could be attributed to local, natural and anthropogenic processes.

Abstract

Groundwater arsenic (As) distribution in alluvial floodplains is complex and spatially heterogeneous. Floodplain evolution plays a crucial role in the fate and mobilization of As in the groundwater. This study presents how groundwater As enrichment is controlled by the spatial disposition of subsurface sand, silt, and clay layers along an N-S transect across the Brahmaputra river basin aquifer. Six boreholes were drilled in the shallow aquifer (up to 60 m) along this transect, and 56 groundwater samples were collected and analysed for their major and trace elements, SO4, PO4, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and dissolved oxygen (DO). Groundwater As ranges from 0.1 to 218 μg/L on the northern bank while from 0.2 to 440 μg/L on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra. Groundwater in the southern bank is highly reduced (Eh -9.8 mV) with low DO and low SO4 (2 mg/L), while groundwater in the north is less reduced (Eh 142 mV) with low DO and higher SO4 (11 mg/L). Subsurface lithologies show that the aquifer on the southern bank has a very thick clay layer, while the aquifer on the northern bank is heterogeneous and interlayered with intermediate clay layers. Depth comparison of the groundwater arsenic concentrations with subsurface lithological variations reveals that groundwater wells overlain by thick clay layers have higher arsenic, while groundwater wells devoid of clay capping have lesser arsenic. Detailed aquifer mapping could be decisive in exploring potentially safe groundwater from geogenic contamination.

Abstract

Groundwater represents a crucial source of drinking water in the Lille metropolitan area. Despite its importance, the resource is vulnerable to the potential evolution of land use: recharge, runoff and evapotranspiration processes in a soil-sealing context and changes in cultural practices. As a result, stakeholders emphasized the importance of exploring the influence of land use on groundwater to ensure sustainable resource management and enhance territorial planning. The 3D hydrodynamic model helped manage groundwater resources, but the (MARTHE code) has a significant limitation in that it does not consider the impact of land use evolution. We propose to investigate the contribution of a hydrological distributed numerical approach incorporating land cover data in groundwater modelling compared to a global approach at the scale of a peri-urban territory. To do so, we use the HELP code by considering the temporal and spatial evolution of land use and their associated characteristics, such as vegetation and soil properties, to detail recharge and runoff over more than 20 years that we incorporate into the initial groundwater model.

The two approaches yielded comparable global water balance results. However, at the local scale, the model accounting for land use showed significantly different hydric components. Choosing the appropriate model depends on the specific research question and spatial scale, and considering land use evolution is crucial for accurate urban planning impact assessments, especially at the district level.

Abstract

In 2021-23, northern Italy suffered a severe drought due to the absence of rainfall, which strongly affected the pre-alpine lake levels, affecting energy production, agriculture and sustainable river flows. This led to harsh consequences on agriculture, which in the Lombardy region almost completely relied on flooding irrigation methods using water from lakes through Ticino and Adda rivers. As part of the INTERREG Central- Europe project “MAURICE”, which focuses on Integrated Water Resources Management, the winter irrigation practice is proposed as a climate change adaptation strategy. The main project idea is to store surface water in aquifers in periods of exceedance (autumn/winter) using the very dense channels irrigation network as a “natural” infiltration system. The underground storage would increase the groundwater levels, bringing two main advantages during the spring/summer seasons: a good flow rate at plain springs and, in periods of water scarcity, the possibility to extract groundwater for agricultural purposes. Relying on the slow groundwater velocity (about 350 m/y), this practice keeps water stored in the subsoil just below the irrigated areas where the water is needed.

In the early project stage, a basin-scale numerical model is presented to test the potentiality of such practice. A specified water volume was distributed on the crop fields during the winter period, and the effects of such managed recharge were evaluated, also considering the possible problems deriving from the groundwater levels increase. The model demonstrates the adaptation measure feasibility, which will be tested at a field scale in a Pilot Area.

Abstract

Define chemical signatures from river waters collected in the Crocodile (West) and Marico Water Management Areas, South Africa. Samples were analysed for anion complexes using Ion Chromatography (IC) and major and trace element chemistry using quadrupole Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (q-ICP-MS). Results are used to define the various chemical signatures resulting from activities within the study area which include mining, agriculture, industry, residential and domestic, and recreational usage and to differentiate the 'background' that arises from the natural geological heterogeneity. The aim of this characterisation is to fingerprint the chemical signatures of various anthropogenic activities irrespective of background. Results from this investigation have been mapped using GIS to visualise the data across the study area. Based on the results, the contamination sources within the area can be identified and ranked in terms of their contribution to the total effective contamination received at Hartebeespoort Dam. {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

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 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

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 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

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

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

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

Israel, S; Kanyerere, T

Globally, surface waters are severely unsustainably exploited and under pressure in semi-arid coastal regions, which results in increasing demand for groundwater resources. Currently, Cape Town and its neighbouring towns along the West Coast of South Africa are facing water shortage related problems. Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is a nature based solution to improve groundwater security in drought prone regions such as the West Coast. The objective of this study was to design a groundwater monitoring network using a hybrid hydrochemical, geophysical and numerical modelling approach to assess and mitigate the potential impacts of MAR for the West Coast Aquifer System (WCAS). An Analytical Hierarchy Process method was used to perform a Multi-criteria analysis employed in GIS (ArcMap 10.3).

The factors of importance for optimized groundwater monitoring network design were based on available data and consultations with hydrogeologists and environmental scientist at stakeholder workshops. The factors which were considered included: elevation (m), geology, density of existing boreholes (wells/km2), electrical conductivity (mS/m), water rise (m), water level decline (m), transmissivity (m/day), saturation indices and lithological thickness (m). Factors were weighted based on their level of importance for the design of the groundwater monitoring network using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). Priorities were calculated from pairwise comparisons using the AHP with Eigen vector method. The Consistency Ratio (CR) calculated was 5.2% which deems the weighting coefficients statistically acceptable. The results show that high priority monitoring areas occurs in the areas where there are fresh groundwater, high borehole density, elevated topography, higher recharge rates and decline in water levels are found. The monitoring network will include boreholes from the low priority areas to ensure that hydrogeological conditions are monitored and impacts are not worsened. Geophysical, numerical and chemical modelling aspects of the methodological approach will be incorporated into the initial groundwater monitoring network design.

 

Abstract

The CSIR has embarked on a study to investigate the potential for additional water in the West Coast, Western Cape through the application of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR). The benefits of MAR is that it may generate additional water supplies from sources that may otherwise be wasted with the recharged water stored in the aquifer to meet water supply in times of high demand. Determining recharge is the most important aspect of hydrological system. However, the accurate estimation of recharge remains one of the biggest challenges for groundwater investigators. Numerous studies have been conducted using geochemical methods to estimate and distinguish sources of recharge in different groundwater units of unconfined and confined aquifers internationally. The application of geochemical methods to produce accurate conceptual model describing natural recharge in aquifer units of Lower Berg River Region has not been widely published. The Lower Berg River catchment, consisting of 4 primary aquifer units (Adamboerskraal, Langebaan Road, Elandsfontein and Grootwater) will be used to demonstrate the applicability of such methods. The aim of the study is to estimate recharge in the lower berg river catchment, and develop a conceptual natural recharge model that will improve understanding of the aquifer system and be an indicator for water availability in the Lower Berg River Catchment. The objectives in developing the conceptual model includes establish groundwater recharge sources, groundwater flow paths, recharge mechanism and potential mixing of groundwater by using environmental isotopes; and obtain a reliable estimation of its recharge amount using the Chloride Mass Balance. As this study is still in progress, this publication will focus on reviewing literature and the outcomes envisioned from the project as to provide a complete understanding of the complex geology. This will lead to a better understanding of the functioning of natural recharge of the aquifer units in the Lower Berg River Catchment.

Abstract

Underground coal gasification (UCG) is considered a cleaner energy source as its known effect on the environment is minimal; it is cheaper and a lesser contributor to greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional coal mining. It has various potential impacts but the subsidence of the surface as well as the potential groundwater contamination is the biggest concerns. Subsidence caused by UCG processes will impact on the groundwater flow and levels due to potential artificial groundwater recharge. The geochemistry of the gasifier is strongly depended upon site specific conditions such as coal composition/type and groundwater chemistry. Independent of the coal rank, the most characteristic organic components of the condensates is phenols, naphthalene and benzene. In the selection of inorganic constituents, ammonia, sulphates and selected metals and metalloids such as mercury, arsenic, and selenium, are identified as the dominant environmental phases. The constituents of concern are generated during the pyrolysis and after gasification as dispersion and penetration of the pyrolysis take place, emission and dispersion of gas products, migration by leaching and penetration of groundwater. A laboratory-based predictive study was conducted using a high pressure thermimetric gasification analyser (HPTGA) to simulate UCG processes where syngas is produced. The HPTGA allows for simulation of the actual operational gasifier pressure on the coal seam and the use of the groundwater sample consumed during gasification. A gasification residue was produced by gasifying the coal sample at 800 °C temperature and by using air as the input gas. The gasification residue was leached using the high temperature experimental leaching procedure to identify the soluble phases of the gasified sample. The leachate analysis is used to determine the proportion of constituents present after gasification which will be removed by leaching as it is exposed to external forces and how it will affect the environment. The loading to groundwater for the whole gasifier is then determined by applying the leachate chemistry and rock-water ratio to the gasifier mine plan and volumes of coal consumed. 

Abstract

South Africa currently ranks number nine in the world of the proved coal reserves that has been estimated to last for over 200 years. Coal constitutes about 77% of the primary energy needs in the country, with the Waterberg Coalfield estimated to host about 40% of the remaining South African coal resources. Coal deposits in the study area largely consist of shales, mudstones, siltstones and sandstones which host coal-containing clay minerals; quartz, carbonates, sulphides and the most abundant sulphide mineral is pyrite. Once mining begins, the sulphide minerals are exposed to surface which allows contact with atmospheric oxygen and water causes oxidation to take place, therefore causing acid-mine drainage (AMD). Acid-base accounting (ABA) was used to determine the balance between the acid-producing potential (AP) and acid-neutralising potential (NP). From the analysis the Net Neutralising Potential (NP-AP) was determined, which is one of the measurements used to classify a sample as potentially acid or non-acid-producing. Mineralogical analyses will be done by x-ray defraction (XRD) to define and quantify the mineralogy of the geological samples which can help in the management plan to minimise generation of acid. AMD does not only result in thgeneration of acid, but as well as in decreased pH values and increased values of specific conductance, metals, acidity, sulphate, and dissolved and suspended solids. Inductively coupled plasma analysis was done to determine the release of the heavy metals which can be detrimental to the environment. Sample analysis was done on the interburden, overburden as well as the coal samples. From results obtained, over 35% to 50% of the samples have an excess of acid potential which classifies the samples as having a higher risk for acid generation. About 30% to 40% of the samples have a higher neutralising potential; the rest of the samples have a medium acid risk generation. The water demand will increase as developments continue in the  area, with inter- catchment transfers identified as the answer to fill the gap of water scarcity. Acid mine drainage poses a big threat on water resources, both groundwater and surface water nationally, which might be less of a problem in the Waterberg because of the cycle of low rainfall in the area, but the potential of AMD cannot be neglected.

Abstract

In this study, a petroleum hydrocarbon contamination assessment was conducted at a cluster of petroleum products storage and handling facilities located on the Southern African Indian Ocean coastal zone. The Port Development Company identified the need for the assessment of the soil and groundwater pollution status at the tank farms in order to develop a remediation and management plan to address hydrocarbon related soil and groundwater contamination. Previous work conducted at the site consisted of the drilling and sampling of a limited number of boreholes. The current investigation was triggered by the presence of a free-phase product in the coal-grading tippler pit located ~350 m down gradient and south-east and east of the tank farms, rendering the operation thereof  unsafe.  The  assessment  intended  identifying  the  source  of  product,  distribution  and mobility, the extent of the contamination, and the human health risks associated with the contamination. To achieve these, the investigation comprised site walkover and interviews, drilling of 76 hand auger and 101 direct push holes to facilitate vertical soil profile VOC screening and sampling  (soil  and  groundwater),  as  well  as  granulomeric  analysis  to  understand   grain   size distribution  within  the  soil  profile.  The  highest  concentrations  were  associated with the coarse sand layers with the highest permeability. Free-phase hydrocarbons product was found in holes adjacent to the pipeline responsible for the distribution of the product from the jetty to the different tanks farms. Of the 57 soil samples, 21 had high values of GRO and DRO, with 22 below Detection Limit and 14 can be described having traces of hydrocarbon. Both TAME and MTBE were detected in most of the water samples, including from wells located far down gradient. The groundwater sink, adjacent to the pipeline running from west to east, resulted in the limited lateral spread of MBTE in this area, with limited movement towards the sea. The depth of the soil contamination varies over the sites. Based on the site  assessment  results  it  was  concluded  that  most  of  the groundwater contamination, which is a mixture of different product types, is associated with the pipeline responsible for transporting product from the jetty to the different petroleum companies.

Abstract

Records review and field based methods were used to collect and interpret groundwater level and hydro- chemical data to characterise groundwater occurrence and flow system in the Heuningnes catchment, Western Cape Province of South Africa. Our research outcome indicates that the study area has alluvial and fractured rock aquifers. The groundwater system has a rainfall driven recharge mechanisms resulting in freshwater in higher altitudes situated in the northern and western parts of the catchment. Highly saline waters are found in low-lying areas. Few samples showing high salinity water exhibit a signature of seawater although in many instances the groundwater chemistry is by and large governed by the geological formation. Groundwater potentiometric surface map shows that the general groundwater flow direction is southwards. In relation to the surface water bodies, groundwater mainly flows towards the Nuwejaars River especially in the northern and north-west part of the study area resulting in fresh water in this part of the river. As this is an ongoing study, these preliminary findings provide the required insight for further analysis and investigation. Future work will involve carrying out aquifer hydraulic tests and collection of water samples for analysis of major ions and stable isotopes. Further discussion will wait for the validation of these results to inform a meaningful implication of such findings.

Abstract

Identifying groundwater recharge and discharge areas across catchments is critical for implementing effective strategies for salinity mitigation, surface water and groundwater resource management, and ecosystem protection. This study seeks to identify potential GW-SW discharge and recharge areas around the Barotse Floodplain. The results of remote sensing analysis using the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) show that the vegetation is sensitive to the dynamics of groundwater level, with shallower levels (< 10 m) in the lower reaches compared to deeper levels (>10 m) in the upper catchment). These zones are further investigated and likely represent geological variability, aquifer confinement and the degree of GW-SW interactions. GW-SW interactions likely are influenced by an interplay of factors such as water levels in the groundwater and surface level and hydrogeological conditions. Based on the findings, the wetland hosts riparian vegetation species responsive to the groundwater dynamic. NDVI can thus be used as a proxy to infer groundwater in the catchment. Therefore, effective water resources management of the floodplain should be implemented through conjunctive management of groundwater and surface water.

Abstract

This study assessed aquifer-river interaction using a combination of geological, hydrological, environmental stable isotope, and hydrochemical data in a non-perennial river system in the Heuningnes catchment. Results showed the depth to groundwater levels ranging from 3 to 10 m below ground level and aquifer transmissivity values of 0.17 to 1.74 m2 /day. The analytical data indicated that Na-Cl-type water dominates most groundwater and river water samples. Environmental stable isotope data of river samples in upstream areas showed depleted δ18O (-4.3 to -5.12 ‰) and δ2H (-22.9 to -19.3 ‰) signatures similar to the groundwater data, indicating a continuous influx of groundwater into the river water. Conversely, high evaporative enrichment of δ18O (1.13 to 7.08 ‰) and δ2H (38.8 to 7.5 ‰) were evident in downstream river samples.

It is evident from the local geological structures that the fault in the northeastern part of the study area passing Boskloof most likely acts as a conduit to groundwater flow in the NE-SW direction, thereby supplying water to upstream river flow. In contrast, the Bredasdorpberge fault likely impedes groundwater flow, resulting in hydraulic discontinuity between upstream and downstream areas. Relatively low conductive formation coupled with an average hydraulic gradient of 8.4 × 10−4 suggests a slow flow rate, resulting in less flushing and high groundwater salinisation in downstream areas. The results underscore the significance of using various data sets to understand groundwater-river interaction, providing a relevant water management platform for managing non-perennial river systems in water-stressed regions.

Abstract

The study focuses on the overlapping effects of low-enthalpy geothermal plants in urbanized areas, showing the importance of quantifying thermal groundwater exploitation to manage the resource adequately. Geothermal energy connects groundwater use to one of the ever-growing needs nowadays: energy. For low-temperature geothermal, the form of energy we can harness is thermal energy for building heating or cooling, one of the most polluting sectors, representing 34% of CO2 emissions in Europe. As in the main European cities, geothermal energy use is constantly growing, and understanding the status of groundwater exploitation for geothermal purposes is essential for proper resource management. To this end, the study’s first phase focused on quantifying geothermal use in the study area selected in Milan city-Italy.

Knowing the characteristics of geothermal plants in the area allows us to understand the extent of the resource exploitation and the consequences of its mismanagement at a large scale. In fact, the plant designers often focus on the local scale, not considering the presence of neighbouring plants, which risks decreasing the plant’s efficiency or amplifying its subsurface thermal effect. To minimize the thermal effects/interferences of geothermal plants in the subsoil, the study of the application of D-ATES systems (Dynamic Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage) with significant groundwater flow is promising. A numerical model of the study area is then implemented with MODFLOW-USG for thermal transport in porous media to evaluate the advantages of installing D-ATES systems instead of typical open-loop systems.

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).

Abstract

The geographic positioning of the Western Cape results in a Mediterranean climate - receiving majority of its rainfall during the winter months. A demand on the water supply throughout the year is typically met by storing water from winter rainfall in large dams. The Western Cape experienced a significant drought between 2015 and 2019. As a result, the supply dams have not been filled to capacity and drastic water restrictions had to be implemented. In the search for alternative water sources, groundwater exploration became a priority. Groundwater development projects were implemented rapidly in attempt to alleviate the implications caused by severe water restrictions and ultimately prevent running out of water. As a local groundwater institution, GEOSS got involved in several fast-tracked groundwater development projects for Department of local government, local municipalities, as well as other industrial and agricultural corporations. For obtaining the required water volumes, alternative measures were implemented. Previously under developed aquifers were targeted. In certain instances, in order to target the Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMG), horizontal exploration drilling was conducted. The results of exploration and drilling yielded valuable learnings in terms of relevant hydrostratigraphy within the study areas. Additionally, there were learnings in terms of managing projects of this nature. In fast-tracked projects, careful management of the contractors, data collation (and storage) and public perception is critical to the success of the project. In this paper on water supply development for Municipalities, the various components of groundwater development are detailed along with relevant learnings from the recent emergency drought response measures.

Abstract

A Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) is being constructed at Pearly Beach. A geohydrological assessment was conducted to assess the potential discharge of treated effluent above and below the subsurface calcrete layers. A hydrocensus has been completed of the area to confirm there is no use of groundwater down-gradient of the WWTW and there is no likely impact on ecosystem functioning. Based on existing boreholes, infiltration above the calcrete layer in the vadose zone was found to be more efficient. A geophysical study was conducted to determine the optimal locations of boreholes for disposal of the treated effluent. The geophysics included an extensive electromagnetic (EM) survey. Resistivity data were acquired along a single resistivity profile to use as calibration for the EM data. This information has been correlated with borehole information from the monitoring boreholes that were drilled at the proposed WWTW site. From this information it would seem that the areas with higher conductivity (lower resistivity) can be targeted for drilling boreholes to dispose of the treated effluent. Also, the higher conductivity areas are interpreted as the areas with increased porosity. However, the change in conductivity could result from an increase in salinity or changes in calcrete content in the subsurface. The expected depth of the unconsolidated sand formations is generally less than 10 m based on the interpreted depth of the saturated formation from the resistivity data. Drilling will target the unconsolidated sands, as well as potential higher porosity zones beneath the calcrete. The geophysics data should then be calibrated with the information obtained from drilling the first borehole. The other sites can then be confirmed or reviewed based on the information. The boreholes are to be drilled soon and pump tested. The obvious concern is that the boreholes may clog, however measures will be put in place to minimise this risk. A detailed monitoring network will also be established. On-going monitoring is crucial to ensure the success of the scheme. The full conference paper will include the drilling and pump testing results and infiltration tests. This method of disposal needs to be taken into consideration especially if such schemes can be run successfully so that another option is available for the disposal of treated effluent. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

The town of Loeriesfontein, situated in the northern Cape, is entirely groundwater dependent, and is currently facing a serious water shortage. Low rainfall and the lack of storm events have resulted in groundwater levels dropping drastically. The current supply boreholes have been over abstracted and cannot meet the required demand. Water levels are close to pump depth for some of the municipal boreholes, and yields are decreasing. The town at one stage was trucking in water in order to supply its residents. Additional supplies are therefore urgently required.

A number of measures were implemented to monitor and manage the current demand and the limited supply. Thereafter GEOSS investigated the occurrence of groundwater within a 20 km radius of Loeriesfontein, and found that dolerite represents the primary target formation for groundwater exploration. Groundwater occurrence is found at the lower dolerite contact with the host rock, or in fractures in the dolerite itself. Based on an extensive hydrocensus, geophysical surveys, drilling and yield testing, the Rheeboksfontein area was identified as a suitable water source. Initially water was being trucked into Loeriesfontein from Rheeboksfontein and later an innovative arrangement of solar driven borehole pumps and reservoir pumps resulted in water being transported much closer to Loeriesfontein, reducing the transportation distances and costs.

During this first Phase of exploration the projected supply still did not meet the water demand and water quality targets. A number of high yielding boreholes were drilled, however the water quality was such that it would have required treatment and disposal of brine in that area is problematic. The extent of the exploration was then increased to a distance of 40 km from Loeriesfontein. A detailed hydrocensus was completed, followed up with further geophysical surveys, drilling and yield testing. Successful boreholes were drilled and the required demand and water quality standards could just be met. This finding is being verified with numerical modelling.

A process is underway to develop a mini-wellfield and then the environmental processes are being followed so that a pipeline can be built delivering water directly into the reservoirs at Loeriesfontein. On-going monitoring and maintenance is crucial to the long-term success of the groundwater supply.

Abstract

Ewart Smith, J; Snaddon, K; de Beer, J; Murray, K; Harillal, Z; Frenzel, P; Lasher-Scheepers, C

Various analysis techniques are available for assessing the groundwater dependence of ecosystems. Hydrogeological monitoring within the Kogelberg and greater Table Mountain Group (TMG) aquifer has provided various datasets from multiple scientific disciplines (hydrological, hydrogeological, geochemical, climatic, ecological and botanical). Using a variety of analysis techniques, and using the Kogelberg as a case study, this paper assesses the groundwater dependence of several ecological sites (wetlands and streams). The starting point is a sound geological and hydrogeological conceptualisation of the site. The approach involves conceptualisation and analysis within each scientific discipline, but also requires bridging between areas of specialisation and analysis of a variety of datasets. This paper presents the data and analyses undertaken and the relevant results as they pertain to several sites within the Kogelberg.

Abstract

Stable isotopes of the water are widely used in volcanic contexts to identify the recharge area, thanks to a strong orographic effect. Such data help improve the study areas’ conceptual model, especially to identify flow paths through the volcanic edifice. The most common pattern considered is a high to medium-elevation recharge area on a flank of the volcano, feeding both local perched aquifers and a deep basal aquifer. This is quite common for “shield volcanoes”, with the flank comprising a thick accumulation of lava flows. On composite volcanoes, especially in a volcanic arc context, the large diversity of lithologies (effusive/ destructive events dynamics) along the flanks may create a compartmented aquifers system. The Arjuno-Welirang-Ringgit volcanic complex (East Java) has been studied to elaborate a hydrogeological conceptual model. Stable isotopes of the water show significant results in identifying the recharge areas of several aquifers that are outflowing at a similar range of elevation. These results help to propose a water flow pattern from the recharge areas to the main springs with juxtaposed and superposed aquifers. This also leads to constraining the geometry of the aquifers and concluding that one volcanic complex with several recharge areas can feed juxtaposed aquifers. These results also highlight the need to adapt the study scale to each “point of interest” in the volcanic context, as each spring shows a different flowing pattern, preferential recharge elevation, and surface area. These are mandatory data to propose an adapted groundwater management.

Abstract

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous on our planet and in aquifers. Understanding PFAS transport in aquifers is critical but can be highly uncertain due to unknown or variable source conditions, hydrophobic sorption to solid organic aquifer matter, ionic sorption on mineral surfaces, changing regulatory requirements, and unprecedentedly low drinking water standards. Thus, a PFAS toolkit has been developed to enable decision makers to collect the hydrogeologic data necessary to understand and better predict PFAS transport in aquifers for the purpose of managing water resources. This toolkit has been tested at a significant alluvial aquifer system in the western United States, which provides water for 50,000 people. Here, the toolkit has provided decision makers with the data necessary to optimize water pumping, treatment and distribution systems. The toolkit describes (1) the design and implementation of a sentinel well network to measure and track PFAS concentrations in the alluvial aquifer over time in response to variable pumping conditions, (2) data collection used to empirically derive input parameters for groundwater fate and transport models, which include the collection of paired aquifer matrix and groundwater samples, to measure PFAS distribution coefficients (Kds) and modified borehole dilution tests to measure groundwater flux (Darcy Velocity) and (3) the use of data collection techniques to reduce cross contamination, including PFAS-free, disposable bailers and a triple-rinse decontamination procedure for reusable equipment. The PRAS transport toolkit has the potential to assist decision makers responsible for managing PFAS contaminated aquifers.

Abstract

Deploying a participatory approach for surveying the complex geohydrological system and defining the status of the groundwater resources in the Kunzila catchment area has crucial importance towards conjunctive use of its water and land resources for sustainable economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection. Several initiatives are being undertaken to pilot the ‘Integrated Landscape Management and WASH’ project in this community to implement evidence-based approaches. A comprehensive hydrogeological study has been carried out to understand the hydrogeological system, propose ecosystem restoration measures, identify suitable locations for drilling boreholes and design a groundwater and surface water monitoring network.

The first results pointed out the central area of the catchment as holding the best potential for groundwater abstraction, a productive Late Quaternary basalt aquifer. As this area is in use by private floriculture farms, several other borehole locations were sited to meet the domestic and livelihood demand across the watershed. In addition to the drinking water supply goals, the project proposed catchment intervention for soil and water conservation based on the Landscape Approach and 3R measures implementation - Retain, Recharge, Reuse. Such measures include but were not limited to riparian vegetation restoration, terracing and contour bunds, agroforestry, controlled grazing, etc. A telemetric monitoring network has been designed and installed to support the conjunctive management of shallow and deep groundwater water resources, streams and Lake Tana, together with a functional dashboard for data registrations and sharing. The monitoring program gauges the impact of groundwater abstraction and the quality parameters.

Abstract

The hydrological cycle consists of several components, with two of the major processes being that of surface water flows and groundwater flows. It has been proven before that these two components interact with each other and are often critical to the survival of the associated users and ecosystems, especially in non-perennial river systems. Non-perennial river systems have a limited number of studies, especially on its link to groundwater and the management of the system. Surface water and groundwater individually contribute to the quality, quantity and distribution of water available and the effect on down gradient users. Understanding these processes would help greatly in managing the non-perennial river/groundwater catchment systems along with its respective ecosystem. The aim is, therefore, to provide an understanding of the groundwater and surface water interactions in the research catchments of Agulhas, Touws and Tankwa-Karoo, and to understand the influence of management decisions related to groundwater use. To achieve this aim, conceptual models will be formulated for the different sites using borehole, geophysics, hydraulic and geochemical data collected in the research catchments. Prediction of the effects of groundwater use on the river systems, and river modifications on groundwater levels, will be done using numerical models to simulate the flow processes and the interactions. With the often strong reliability on groundwater in semi-arid and arid regions to support ecosystems and surface water pools, it is expected that the results will indicate a decrease in river flows (and existence of pools) with an increase in shallow aquifer groundwater abstraction. However, the regional flow of groundwater and surrounding faults and springs may have an influence large enough to counter the expected result.