Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 51 - 100 of 795 results
Title Presenter Name Presenter Surname Area Conference year Keywords

Abstract

Research on Fracking in the Karoo basin yielded results that, if not considered “unexpected”, can be considered as “should have been foreseen”. Some aspects substantially impacting research on fracking are often overlooked when undertaking scientific research on an emotional topic such as fracking. This presentation aims to provide insights and recommendations based on the experiences and outcomes of current research on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in the Karoo basin of South Africa. Fracking has been a subject of significant research and debate over the past decade. Topics, each with its challenges, include 1) The scale of exploration/production extent (Site specifics), 2) Importance of robust and independent research, 3) Need for stakeholder engagement and participation, 4) The complexity of environmental risks and impacts, 5) The need for a precautionary approach, 6) Regulatory and policy challenges. Several methodologies can be relied upon to compare outcomes of different aspects of fracking research in the Karoo, such as 1) Comparative analysis, 2) Meta-analysis, 3) Stakeholder mapping and analysis and 4) Data visualisation. A combination of these methodologies can be used to compare outcomes of different aspects of fracking research in the Karoo and provide insights and recommendations for future decision-making and planning. Ultimately, the decision to allow Fracking should be based on a balanced assessment of potential risks and benefits, considering long-term impacts on the environment, economy, and communities.

Abstract

Since 2018, the North China Plain has started a large-scale ecological water replenishment project for rivers and lakes, with 17.5 billion cubic meters total from the South–North Water Transfer Project and other water sources. It is a key question of how much water infiltration into aquifers will affect groundwater and how to characterize and evaluate this effect quantitatively. The groundwater numerical model of the Beijing-Tianjin- Hebei region as the main part of the North China Plain was established using a numerical simulation method, and the groundwater level variation under the replenishment condition was simulated and predicted. By comparing the two scenarios, the relative rise method of groundwater level was proposed to characterize the influence of river water infiltration on groundwater level, and the unstructured grid method was used to refine cells near the river to improve simulation accuracy. Simulation results show that the groundwater level around some rivers has risen significantly in the past four years, especially in the alluvial fan regions with better infiltration properties. Accordingly, at the Piedmont alluvial fan region, there is also a large influence range on groundwater level. The maximum influence distance is more than 10km (0.1m relative rise of groundwater level was taken as the influential boundary). According to the prediction, if the water replenishment project continues, the range of influence can continue to expand, but the expansion rate will slow down due to the reduction of the hydraulic gradient.

Abstract

Electromagnetic (EM) techniques were used to map groundwater salinity and clay layers in the Netherlands. The EM method used the so-called time domain system, is towed behind an ATV and is therefore called towed TEM. The results revealed a detailed 3-dimensional insight into the subsurface’s sequence of clay and sandy layers. Also, shallow saline groundwater, far from the coast, has been detected related to a subsurface salt dome. The rapid, non-destructive data acquisition makes the tTEM a unique tool. Electromagnetic (EM) techniques detect electrical conductivity contrasts in the subsurface with depth. EM data can often be interpolated into a 3D model of electrical conductivity. Expert knowledge of the regional geohydrologist, together with existing (borehole) data, is paramount for the interpretation. The towed Transient Electro-Magnetic system (tTEM) is developed to acquire data up to 60-80m depth by driving a transmitter and a receiver behind an ATV. With a speed of 10-15 km/h, measurements are collected every 5m. On fields, the distance between lines is typically 20m, resulting in a dense network of data that is inverted into 1D resistivity models, showing the variation of conductivity with depth. Interpolating 1D resistivity models into a 3D model allows for further interpretation in terms of geology, lithology, and groundwater quality. The tTEM technique bridges the gap between point measurements and more expensive and lower-resolution airborne EM data collection. The technique is sensitive to disturbance by man-made conducting infrastructure.

Abstract

Top-down governance systems are not well designed to secure the protection, use and management of groundwater at the local level and, on the contrary, perpetuate ‘wicked’ problems of poor groundwater management and protection. Citizen science promises solutions to these ‘wicked’ problems. We present findings from a project in the Hout Catchment, Limpopo, where citizen scientists monitor water in wells in remote rural settings. We redress the bias towards the natural sciences and pay attention to human systems as it is through engaging with people’s ‘ordinary’ citizens that they will protect their environment for better planetary health. To better understand these human systems that impact groundwater, we emphasise diversity and difference and argue for a HOPE model (heralding optimal participatory equity). HOPE has intrinsic and extrinsic value (equity) (addressing a hydrological void and understanding groundwater features). To achieve this, we open up a toolkit providing very practical methods. Using these tools, we propose that citizen science - taking science away from remote institutions, out of libraries and laboratories - and bringing it close to people is emancipatory and addresses new ways of understanding polycentric governance. Citizen science is transformative; citizens move from a passive state of non-engagement with science to acting as scientists. Disempowered people now have a sense of being part of the betterment of their world and improved water resources management. Narrowing the natural and social sciences divide is crucial for improved polycentric governance.

Abstract

Advances in groundwater age dating provide key information for groundwater recharge history and rates, which is of great significance for groundwater sustainable development and management. By far the, radioisotope 14C is the most frequently used in routine investigations. However, groundwater age can be misinterpreted given its dating range of up to 40 ka and its chemically active in nature. In comparison, 81Kr is less frequently used but chemically inert with a dating range of up to 1,300 ka, which overcomes the limit of 14C. Although it is not as precise as 14C when the groundwater age is younger than 40 ka, it may be helpful to determine the reliability of 14C dating results. In this study, we collected eight field samples from coastal aquifers in Nantong, China and analyzed them for 81Kr, 85Kr, and 14C. The 14C results show that all groundwater ages range from 2,400 to 35,300 years, with different correction methods yielding uncertainties of 1,500 to 3,300 years. Four of the 81Kr ages provided upper bounds, while three yielded groundwater ages which are consistent with the 14C dating results within measurement uncertainties. Interestingly, one 81Kr result gave an age of 189+11 - 12ka, whereas the corresponding corrected 14C age was less than 29,200 years. The great difference may indicate modern contamination in the sampling process or mixing between young and old groundwaters. Further investigation is needed to shed more lights in this case. Moreover, it shows the benefits of introducing 81Kr in routine hydrogeological investigations and the groundwater studies.

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

The drinking water health issues have been considered due to improved living standards in recent years. Finding and developing high-quality groundwater with high-level minerals has become key to improving human health. The hydrochemical test data of 66 springs in Zhaojue County were analyzed using various methods, and the spatial distributions of H2 SiO3 -rich groundwater, hydrogeochemical characteristics, formation conditions and genesis were revealed. The main results including: 1) the groundwater with H2 SiO3 (≥25mg / L) was identified as the low salinity and alkaline water, which distributed in the six areas with the basement rocks of basalt,with a distribution area of about 79 square kilometers. The H2 SiO3 concentration was generally 25.74~46.04 mg/L; the low mineralization characterized the H2 SiO3 -rich groundwater of study area while the main hydrochemical types of groundwater are HCO3 - Ca·Mg, HCO3 -Ca, and HCO3 -Na; the Pearson correlation coefficient between the content of H2 SiO3 in groundwater and the content of pH is relatively high, indicating that the level of H2 SiO3 in groundwater in the study area is significantly affected by the pH value of the solution; the H2 SiO3 -rich groundwater was influenced by the water-rock interactions, the distribution range and solubility of silicate minerals ,the development of surrounding rock fissures, and water conservation and recharge conditions in the county, among which the water-rock interactions play a critical role. The results can provide a basis for the development of mineral water industry and the construction of urban and rural high-quality water sources in Zhaojue County.

Abstract

While traditional well and spring sampling are limited to the integration of point data and the interpolation of the data across large scales. Electrical measurements of aquifers can be extended across a range of scales and integrated to provide an improved quantitative understanding of groundwater systems. At a site in Oklahoma, USA, a karst-managed aquifer recharge research site is being used to test electrical techniques for aquifer characterization on the kilometer scale and monitoring the aquifer on the meter scale. At the kilometer scale, the data illustrate fault locations, siphons in flow paths, and previously uncharacterized conduits. At the metre scale, the monitoring data illustrate porosity structure, flow paths, and potential biological changes in the subsurface. The results indicate that electrical approaches can significantly change aquifer conceptual models and provide targeted sampling locations in karstic bedrock aquifers.

Abstract

South Africa is the leading user of pesticides in Sub-Saharan Africa, but data on pesticide occurrence in (ground)water is limited. Consequently, there is a need to improve knowledge on transport pathways that cause pesticides to enter the aquatic environment. This research monitored pesticide concentrations in three agricultural catchments in the Western Cape, South Africa, including Grabouw (pome fruit), Hex River Valley (table grapes), and Piketberg (wheat). Passive samplers were deployed in rivers from March 2022- March 2023, adding to a 2017-2019 dataset of analytical and pesticide application data. Field and laboratory methods were developed at Stellenbosch University to measure pesticides using Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. For quality control, duplicate samples were analyzed at Eawag, Switzerland. 30 compounds were detected, yet two/three comprise most of the total mass, including an analyte not considered in earlier investigations (dimethomorph).

Rainfall-flow relationships and agricultural application could only partially explain detection levels, suggesting that other factors, including non-agricultural application or groundwater input, might influence detections. Two compounds exceeded European Environmental Quality Standards (chlorpyrifos and imidacloprid). Imidacloprid is particularly concerning because it exceeded consistently despite few recorded applications. 2017-2022 imidacloprid data indicates a decreasing concentration trend in Hex River Valley and increasing trends in Piketberg and Grabouw. Consistently high detections during wet and dry periods suggest groundwater input. However, such pesticide transport pathways are poorly understood due to a lack of local evidence. Local authorities must establish a long-term monitoring program to understand better the risk pesticides pose to the aquatic environment and human health.

Abstract

The development of satellite technologies creates more and more opportunities to build modern tools for monitoring the state of groundwater. The use of the GRACE satellites to monitor GWS changes has become widespread, but the degree of accuracy with which remote sensing data can estimate these changes is unclear. In this study, we quantified changes in the GWS in Poland from 2009 to 2022 using GRACE observations, in-situ data, and GLDAS. Long-term trends and seasonality were calculated and analysed for each time series. The correlation analysis between GRACE TWS, GWS obtained from GRACE and GLDAS, and GWS in situ was performed using linear regression. Pearson and Spearman’s methods show that GRACE performance is good in the region of shallow (up to 3 m) presence of thick (above 5 m) unconfined porous aquifers; however, performance is worse in a region with multiple aquifer systems, including fissured and karst aquifers. In addition, an unrepresentative groundwater GRACE signal is obtained in regions with surface water storage, such as the Baltic Sea area. It was also found that there is very high consistency between the GRACE observations and wells water level changes, while the GWS series obtained from GRACE and GLDAS do not provide adequate compatibility. According to the GRACE data, the results suggest that evapotranspiration and the hydrodynamic system have the greatest impact on the sensitivity of the GWS estimation. The results are important for better processing the GRACE data to obtain a representative signal for the GWS assessment.

Abstract

Being extensively available and of high quality, groundwater is the primary source of freshwater in coastal regions globally. However, due to anthropogenic and natural drivers, groundwater salinisation is a growing threat to this resource’s long- and short-term viability. The causes and timescales of aquifer salinisation are complex and difficult to quantify, information essential for suitably timed mitigation strategies. One way to inform these strategies and develop storylines of future freshwater (un)availability is through 3D groundwater salinity modelling. These models can predict current groundwater distributions and quantitatively assess the impacts of a projected increase in groundwater extraction rates and sea-level rise. Until recently, detailed 3D models on this scale have been largely unattainable due to computational burdens and a shortage of in-situ data. Fortunately, recent developments in code parallelization, reproducible modelling techniques, and access to high-performance computing (e.g., via parallel SEAWAT) have made this feasible. Machine learning and data mining developments have also allowed an unprecedented opportunity to constrain and calibrate those models. With this in mind, we present our progress towards global 3D salinity modelling by showcasing a regional-scale model in the Mediterranean Sea area. This test case uses newly developed, automated geological and salinity interpolation methods to create initial conditions while implemented in a parallelized version of SEAWAT. The modelling outcomes highlight the potential of supra-regional scale modelling in the context of global (planetary) processes and localised anthropogenic effects.

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

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

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

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

Due to technical, social, and economic limitations, integrated groundwater management presents a significant challenge in developing countries. The significance of this issue becomes even more pronounced in groundwater management, as this resource is often overlooked and undervalued by decision-makers due to its status as a “hidden resource,” despite the fact that it provides multiple ecosystem services. This study aims to establish the technical hydrogeological foundation in rural basins of central Bolivia through alternative, simplified, and cost-effective methods and tools. The study includes applying geophysical techniques, such as Electrical Resistivity Tomography, to determine the conceptual hydrogeological model of a micro-basin. In addition, a soil water balance approach was applied, characterizing 24 biophysical variables to identify groundwater recharge zones, while global circulation models provided a substitute for unreliable meteorological data. Furthermore, a participatory model was developed to identify recharge areas in upper basin areas within the framework of developing a municipal policy for their protection. The participatory model included local knowledge in all stages of methodology development, considering the characteristics of the local plant communities and the spatial distribution of local rainfall. The research findings have already contributed to resolving socio-environmental conflicts in Bolivia and establishing a foundation for effective water governance by empowering local rural communities. This study has demonstrated the feasibility of using alternative, simplified, and low-cost methods and tools to establish the technical hydrogeological basis, which can inform public policies to promote sustainable groundwater management in developing countries.

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

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) provides an integrated water governance solution that improves water security for communities and farmers by storing water in aquifers and managing groundwater extractions to ensure water supplies are available during droughts. Quantitative analysis of levelised costs and benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) of 21 MAR schemes from 15 countries and qualitative assessment of additional social and environmental benefits demonstrates the benefits of MAR compared to water supply alternatives. Cost-benefit analysis provides a systematic method for comparing alternative water infrastructure options. Levelised cost is a widely accepted method of comparing MAR with alternative water infrastructure solutions when market valuations of water are unavailable.

The benefits of MAR can be estimated by the cost of the cheapest alternative source of supply or the production value using water recovered from aquifer storage. MAR schemes recharging aquifers with natural water using infiltration basins or riverbank filtration are relatively cheap with high BCRs. Schemes using recycled water and/or requiring wells with substantial drilling infrastructure and or water treatment are more expensive while offering positive BCRs. Most MAR schemes have positive or neutral effects on aquifer conditions, water levels, water quality, and environmental flows. Energy requirements are competitive with alternative sources of supply. This analysis demonstrates strong returns to investment in the reported MAR schemes. MAR provides valuable social and environmental benefits and contributes to sustaining groundwater resources where extraction is managed.

Abstract

Year-round water security is at risk as socio-economic developments lead to increasing water demands, while climate change affects water availability through higher-intensity rainfall and prolonged periods of drought. Coastal zones and deltas with often high population densities experience additional risks of salinisation and land subsidence. These developments ask for creative solutions to secure sustainable and year-round access to fresh water. The subsurface provides storage capacity to actively infiltrate freshwater, bridging the time-gap between demand and supply. Combining infiltration with extraction and desalination of brackish water prevents the salinisation of aquifers whilst providing an additional water source. We call this COASTAR. A Dutch research consortium with partners like water companies and water boards develops COASTAR. Among COASTAR results are suitability maps for Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) and Brackish Water Extraction (BWE) in the coastal zone of the Netherlands. The maps are based on geohydrological factors. A quick-scan analysis was also performed to quantify the nation-wide potential extractable ASR and BWE volumes. COASTAR develops case study models and local scale pilots on ASR and BWE. For two water supply regions, an analysis has been made to geographically match development in water demand with suitability for ASR and BWE as a step in the search for strategic locations to develop ASR and BWE. The suitability maps provide guidance for initiatives’ development and practical experiences from pilot projects; this provides important information for further upscaling of COASTAR approaches.

Abstract

Groundwater governance and risk management in the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia (MDB) are being challenged by the increasing demand for water and the growing scarcity and variability of water supply owing to climate change. Over the past 20 years, consideration of risk related to groundwater in the MDB has evolved from concerns about the impact of groundwater extraction on surface water resources to an integrated assessment of risks to connected water resources and ecosystems. The Basin Plan includes a comprehensive framework for assessing risks to Basin water resources and ecosystems, but further scientific and policy developments are required to implement the plan. Consistent definition and improved assessment of groundwater-surface water connectivity are required, together with longer planning timeframes. Multi-year planning rules and policies must be developed to exploit opportunities for integrated management of groundwater and surface water resources and storage to manage droughts and floods. Risks to groundwater quality and groundwater-dependent ecosystems must be adequately assessed and monitored to avoid adverse impacts on communities and long-term loss of ecosystem services. Further improvements can be made in assessing cumulative risks from coal seam gas and coal mining. Additional research can be targeted towards knowledge gaps and uncertainties that pose the greatest risk to connected groundwater and surface water resources and ecosystem viability. Most importantly, further training and capacity building in water management agencies is critical to enable effective and transparent monitoring and management of Basin water resources.

Abstract

Two numerical simulations using Feflow® software were conducted to demonstrate the utility of geophysical data to accurately determine groundwater levels and provide additional data to the groundwater modelling community to improve the model’s accuracy. One simulation is based on regional piezometric data, and the other uses geophysical data acquired through transient electromagnetic (TEM), electrical resistivity (ERT), and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys. After both numerical analyses, the root mean square errors (RMS) obtained from the piezometric data and the multiple geophysical techniques to confirm the correlation between observed and simulated water levels were similar at 3.81 m and 2.76 m, respectively. Through a discrete modelling approach, this study shows that groundwater levels estimated using geophysical tools and methods and those determined by direct observation are comparable. In addition, before the 3D numerical flow model, a 3D geological model was built to fully represent this highly complex, heterogeneous, and anisotropic hydrological environment of the Saint-Narcisse moraine glacial deposits in eastern Mauricie, Québec. This stratigraphic reconstruction with Leapfrog software was necessary to provide a more detailed and realistic representation of this complex aquifer system. This study illustrates how geophysical data can complement direct observations to provide additional hydraulic information to hydrologic modellers. Geophysical surveys provide an extensive set of soft data that can be leveraged to improve groundwater flow models and determine water-table heights, particularly in areas characterized by limited direct piezometric information.

Abstract

Groundwater resources in Africa face increasing threats of over-exploitation and pollution due to urbanization, agricultural and mining activities, yet monitoring remains challenging. Conventional approaches to monitoring groundwater at the exclusion of communities have not been successful. To overcome this, it is important to fully engage and train local communities in monitoring Groundwater Levels (GWLs), Rainfall and Water Quality (RWQ), which are important for understanding groundwater dynamics in wellfields. In this way, villagers can better understand groundwater issues and convey this information to others to cooperatively manage groundwater. A pilot program to monitor GWLs and RWQ by locals was initiated in two villages each in Botswana and Uganda to learn about its effectiveness. Through continuous stakeholder engagement, the local communities in the two case studies have been facilitated, trained and supported in monitoring groundwater and using the information collected to understand groundwater trends and their sustainability. Preliminary results indicate improvement in understanding the importance of groundwater monitoring by the communities and the implications on groundwater sustainability for improved livelihoods. This has become useful to one of the communities engaged in a village-level irrigation project which depends on groundwater resources. This project builds on a successful village-level participatory approach developed in the MARVI project (www.marvi.org.in ). It seeks to contribute to the United Nation’s 2022 call on “Groundwater: making the invisible visible” to highlight the importance of better monitoring and managing this vital resource.

Abstract

Water and contaminant transport processes in the vadose zone through preferential flow paths can be understood using environmental and artificial tracer methods. Further improvement in tracer techniques can be achieved by applying numerical modelling techniques of both water and solute transport, accounting for additional information on water movement and the matric potential of the vadose zone. The vadose zone is often ignored as a key component linking the land surface to the groundwater table, even though it acts as a filter that removes or stores potential contaminants. The water transit time between the surface and the groundwater table is frequently investigated using artificial tracers that normally show conservative behaviour. The main advantage is that the input function can be clearly defined, even though artificial tracers can generally only be applied over a relatively small area. The research is expected to provide insight into the selection and use of environmental and artificial tracers as markers for detecting and understanding the contaminant transport processes and pathways of contaminants in altered vadose zone environments (open-pit quarry). The impact is improved characterisation of the pathways, transport and migration processes of contaminants, and residence times, leading to the development of appropriate conceptual and numerical models of vadose zone flow processes that consider various contaminant sources. The principal aim is, therefore, to systematically examine the transport mechanisms and associated pathways of different environmental and artificial tracers in an open-pit quarry.

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

Hydrogeology and hydrology are commonly overlooked aspects of geoheritage, despite strong geological links. Water in all its forms has played a critical role in the development of Earth, and the shaping of its landforms (in addition to sustaining all life on the planet), and access to water has been the core reason for the establishment of numerous human settlements. The evolution of a settlement’s water supply tracks its development history across the Holocene, providing an excellent tool for teaching the public about human interactions with the Earth and our shared future going forward in a changing climate. To this extent, two self-guided trails (with associated guidebooks and mobile apps) have been developed in areas of the Western Cape province of South Africa with rich water supply histories and hydro-geoheritage – the Table Mountain Dams Trail in Cape Town and the Hermanus Water Walk in the Overberg region. The surface and groundwater supply systems that both trails cover have an inherently unique link with the Ordovician-Devonian Table Mountain Group fractured aquifer systems (including the complex tectonic and geomorphic evolutionary history that has led to the present landscapes), which most residents and international visitors are generally unaware of (despite being major tourist regions in South Africa). It is envisioned that through these guides/trails, the reader/walker will gain a better understanding of/appreciation for the value of water, a greater feeling of ownership for the natural history of the city/region they reside in, and will strive to preserve associated hydro-geoheritage for future generations.

Abstract

In Java Island, Indonesia, andesitic volcanic aquifers are the main water resource for domestic, agricultural, and industrial use. To guarantee sustainable management, a hydrogeological conceptual model is key. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) survey is one tool to characterize aquifer structures and extension, specifically in the medial facies of the Arjuno Welirang volcano. Fadillah et al. (2023) proposed a hydrogeological interpretation of the aquifers in the central to proximal-medial transition zone of the Arjuno Welirang volcano. This interpretation was based on geology, hydrogeology, and ERT and focused on major springs and boreholes. Nine additional ERT profiles and borehole data were collected downstream to enhance the medial facies’ understanding further. Seven ERT lines were conducted throughout the midstream part of the watershed. The results confirm the presence of two superimposed aquifers, a first unconfined aquifer made of volcanic sandstone and breccia with a vertical extension of 25 meters and a confined aquifer from 35 to 120 meters (maximum depth of investigation). This last one consists of tuffaceous breccia and volcanic sandstone and includes lava layers as well. A clayey layer with an average thickness of 10 meters constitutes the aquiclude/aquitard between those two aquifers. Furthermore, two ERT lines were conducted in the vicinity of the major spring located in the distal part of volcanic deposits, highlighting the development of a multi-layer alluvial aquifer system.

Abstract

Monitoring deep (~100 – 200 m) fresh-saline water interface is a challenge because of the low spatial density of deep boreholes. In this project, Vertical Electrical Soundings measurements were used to evaluate changes in the depth of the interface over various decades. Water quality monitoring is a well-known application of geo-electrical measurements but generally applies to the relatively shallow subsurface. In this case study, the saline groundwater interface is around 120 -200 m deep, and the time interval between the measurements is several tens of years. Several locations showing good-quality existing VES-measurements acquired in the last century were selected to see whether repeat measurements could be performed. The number of locations where a repeat measurement could be performed was limited due to the construction of new neighbourhoods and greenhouse complexes. When interpreting the measurements for the change in the depth of the fresh-salt interface, it is assumed that the transition from fresh to saline groundwater occurs over a small depth range and that the electrical conductivity of the fresh water above this interface has not changed. However, it turned out that the ion concentration of the groundwater in the layers above the fresh-saline interface had increased sharply at almost all locations. This complicated the approach, but still, useful results could be obtained. Based on the measurements, it can be said that the fresh-saline water interface has shifted downwards at 3 locations, and hardly any change has occurred at 5 locations.

Abstract

In response to the Western Cape’s worst drought experienced during 2015-2018, the City of Cape Town implemented various projects to augment its water supply, including desalination, re-use and groundwater. The Cape Flats Aquifer Management Scheme (CFAMS) forms one of the groundwater projects that includes groundwater abstraction and managed aquifer recharge (MAR). The Cape Flats Aquifer (CFA) is a coastal, unconfined, primary aquifer within an urban and peri-urban environment. As such, it is well situated to take advantage of enhanced recharge using high-quality advanced treated effluent but also has challenges related to seawater intrusion (SWI) and risk of contamination. MAR is currently being tested and implemented with a three-fold purpose: (1) to create hydraulic barriers against seawater intrusion and other contamination sources, (2) to protect groundwater-dependent ecosystems harbouring biodiversity, and (3) to increase storage and improve water quality to enhance resilience to effects of drought. As no legislation for MAR exists in South Africa, international guidelines are used to determine water quality requirements related to clogging environmental and health concerns. Further consideration includes aquifer-scale design, the interaction of multiple abstraction and injection wellfields within an area, and the design of individual boreholes to enhance yield and limit clogging. We aim to present progress made to date that includes exploration, wellfield development, monitoring, numerical modelling, aquifer protection, and the lessons learnt.

Abstract

Technological advances in recent years provide a unique opportunity to adopt new instruments for groundwater monitoring to reduce operating costs, obtain higher measuring accuracy and reliability, and accomplish comprehensive real-time monitoring. Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology enables small and low-cost energy-saving microsensors and integration with IOT for real-time monitoring. This presentation will discuss the findings of the performance of a newly developed instrument based on a MEMS piezoresistive pressure sensor. We demonstrate a path forward for the expansion of this research. The sensor is designed to be applicable to both open and closed systems for measuring groundwater level and pore water pressure. Tests show that MEMs (0-689 kPa range) can obtain full-scale accuracy between 0.2-0.3% in groundwater level prediction. However, the measurement result mainly depends on the appropriateness of the calibration method. Regarding pore pressure measurement under sealed conditions by gravel sand and cement-bentonite grout, a full-scale accuracy between 0.3% and 0.725% is accessible, depending on the backfill material. However, it was evident that backfill materials have considerable effects on the response time and accuracy of measurement, in which a stiff and less permeable grout can increase inaccuracy and time lag in measurement. Overall, the initial results have shown a promising future for this technology in groundwater monitoring. However, more tests and analyses are still required to improve sensor design, energy consumption for IOT applications, wireless module, installation system and its specifications such as accuracy, conformance, precision, and stability.

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

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

This study focuses on the coastal agricultural area of El-Nil River (Algeria), where anthropogenic activities heavily impact groundwater resources. A multi-tracer approach, integrating hydrogeochemical and isotopic tracers (δ2HH2O, δ18OH2O, δ15NNO3 and δ18ONO3), is combined with a hydrochemical facies evolution diagram and a Bayesian isotope mixing model (MixSIAR) to assess seawater contamination and distinguish the nitrate sources and their apportionment. A total of 27 groundwater samples and 7 surface water samples distributed over the entire study area were collected. Results show classic inland intrusion combined with an upstream seawater impact through the river mouth connected to the Mediterranean Sea. Results from nitrate isotopic composition, NO3 and Cl concentrations, and the MixSIAR model show that nitrate concentrations chiefly originate from sewage and manure sources. Nitrate derived from sewage is related to wastewater discharge, whereas nitrate derived from manure is attributed to an excessive use of animal manure to fertilise agricultural areas. The outcomes of this study are expected to help decision-makers prepare suitable environmental strategies for effective and sustainable water resources management in the study area.

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

Drywells are extremely useful for coping with excess surface water in areas where drainage and diversion of storm flows are limited, facilitating stormwater infiltration and groundwater recharge. Drywells have been used for stormwater management in locations that receive high precipitation volumes, naturally or due to climate change; however, to date, they have not been developed in urban areas overlying karst landscapes. To test the performance of karst drywells, we constructed a pilot system for collecting, filtering, and recharging urban stormwater through drywells in karst rock. The study site is in the Judaean Mountains, an urban residential area in Jerusalem, Israel. The infiltration capacity of the drywells was evaluated using continuous and graduated water injection tests, and its effective hydraulic conductivity (K) was estimated. Drywells’ infiltration capacity was up to 22 m3 /hour (the maximum discharge delivered by a nearby fire hydrant), while monitored water levels in the drywells were relatively stable. Calculated hydraulic conductivities were in the range of K=0.1-100 m/ day, and generally, K was inversely proportional to the rock quality designation (RQD) index (obtained from rock cores during the drilling of the drywells). The pilot system performance was tested in the recent winter: during 9 days with a total rainfall of 295 mm, a cumulative volume of 45 m3 was recharged through the drywell, with a maximum discharge of 13 m3 / hour. High-conductivity karst drywells and adequate pre-treatment filtration can be valuable techniques for urban flood mitigation and stormwater recharge.

Abstract

Groundwater is an important freshwater supply that has a significant role in the economy. However, water is increasingly becoming scarce in several regions. Huai Krachao Subdistrict in Kanchanaburi Province is an example of an area that has been experiencing a severe drought for decades due to the impacts of climate change. This study was conducted to delineate the groundwater potential zones in hard-rock terrains using geographic information system (GIS) techniques. The study aims to explore deep groundwater resources in challenging areas and propose alternative methods supporting traditional groundwater exploration. This finding revealed that the groundwater potential zones were classified into high, moderate, and low potential zones based on the groundwater potential index (GWPI), integrated using the Weighted Index Overlay Analysis. The computed weights from the Analytical Hierarchy Process were acceptable and consistent. The high potential zones mainly occur in the Silurian-Devonian metamorphic rocks. The GIS-based analytical results were later prepared for detailed field investigation, including collecting well information and conducting the 2-dimensional geophysical survey. To prove the GWPI map, 9 groundwater wells were drilled in the high potential zones. Consequently, well yields obtained from the pumping-test analysis ranged from 24-40 m3 / hr, some of which are springs rich in dissolved minerals. Accordingly, a significant amount of water could meet the water demand, supplying about 1 million m3 /year. Under these circumstances, discovering new groundwater resources can support roughly 5,000 people and agricultural lands no less than 480 hectares (4.8 km2 ).

Abstract

The Ordovician aquifer of the Izhora deposit is widely used for drinking by the population of St. Petersburg and its suburbs. Carbonate Ordovician rocks are intensively karstified. The water is fresh (0,5-0,8 g/l), bicarbonate-calcium on the predominant ions, pH 7.6; calcium content is 50-80 mg/l, magnesium content is 30-60 mg/l and the total hardness is 7,6-8,0 mg-equ./l. Western, northern and northeastern boundaries of the Izhora deposit go along the Baltic Klint, which is evident on the relief. Its southern boundary is along the zone of the dip of Ordovician limestone beneath the Devonian sandstone. The territory of the Izhora plateau belongs to the areas of intensive economic activity. Often, objects of human economic activity are located near drinking water intakes. Almost all sites are marked by excess sanitary norms of chemical elements. Pollution of groundwater in the Ordovician aquifer has been identified in some areas. Priority substances have been identified for assessing the quality of groundwater: total hardness, Fe, Mn, Ba, and B. According to hydrochemical modelling data, Ordovician groundwater is saturated with calcite over most territory. There are many springs of underground water along the Baltic Klint, for example, near the village of Lopukhinka, Duderhof springs and others. The springs waters have natural radioactivity (due to the contact of groundwater with dictyonema shales), which makes their use hazardous to human health.

Abstract

Water budget assessment and related recharge in karstified and fractured mountainous aquifers suffer a large uncertainty due to variable infiltration rates related to karst features. The KARMA project (karma-project.org), funded by the European Commission, has addressed this knowledge gap. The increase in human withdrawals and the effect of climate change can modify the recharge rate and, consequently, the spring discharge. The regional aquifer of Gran Sasso mountain, Central Italy, has been investigated by monitoring spring discharge isotope composition and calculating the inflow using a GIS approach on 100x100 m cells, considering local conditions, including karst features. The results for the 2000-2022 period highlight the preferential recharge area of the endorheic basin of Campo Imperatore (up to 75% of precipitation) and a mean infiltration of about 50% of rainfall. Different methods applied for recharge evaluation (Turc, Thornthwaite and APLIS) agree with a recharge rate close to 600 mm/year. This amount roughly corresponds to the spring discharge, evidencing: i) a “memory effect” in spring discharge, which is higher than previewed during dry years; ii) a variation in discharge due to rainy and drought year distribution, frequently recorded at springs with delay (1-2 years); iii) no significant trends of spring depletion since last 20 years; iv) the risk of lowering of snow contribution to recharge due to the temperature rise. The results provide updated information to the drinking water companies and the National Park Authority for sustainable management of the available groundwater resources.

Abstract

The City of Cape Town (CCT) initiated its “New Water Programme” in 2017 (during the major 2015-2018 “Day Zero” drought) to diversify its bulk water supply, thereby improving longterm water security and resilience against future droughts. This includes bulk groundwater abstraction from the major fractured Peninsula and Nardouw Aquifers of the Table Mountain Group (TMG) in the mountain catchments east of the CCT. The TMG aquifers are essential in sustaining groundwater-dependent ecosystems associated with the Cape Floral Kingdom – a global biodiversity (but also extinction) hotspot with exceptional endemic diversity. A strong geoethical, “no-regrets” approach is therefore required to develop TMG wellfield schemes for the CCT (and other towns/cities in the Western/Eastern Cape) to reduce the risk of any negative ecological and environmental impacts while still enhancing the drought resilience of the city, providing water for future urban growth, and meeting Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 11.

To this extent, the CCT has developed an extensive regional (and local, in terms of Steenbras Wellfield) environmental monitoring network, incorporating a range of in-situ and remote sensing-based measurements across the Earth’s “Critical Zone” – this includes current groundwater, surface water, ecological, soil and meteorological monitoring stations, and future seismo-geodetic monitoring. An ongoing ambition is to include this CCT TMG monitoring network into the “Greater Cape Town Landscape”, which is currently in development as one of six national South African landscapes under the “Expanded Freshwater and Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network” (EFTEON) platform being hosted by the South African Environmental Observation Network.

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

Given the challenging global water outlook due to climate change and urbanisation, there is a heightened necessity for greater water resilience at critical facilities to tackle water disasters or disasters that lead to water crises. In 2017, the Western Cape Province of South Africa experienced an extended drought with the risk of acute water shortages. The Western Cape Government (WCG) developed business continuity plans and implemented a programme to ensure water supply to certain critical service delivery facilities, utilising the strategy of developing localised groundwater supply systems. The case study research of the WCG program enabled the development of an evaluation framework that assessed this strategy’s effectiveness in improving water resilience levels at critical facilities. From the lessons learnt in the WCG programme, the research also crystallised the critical success factors in sustainably implementing this strategy. The research showed that this is an effective strategy for its purposes and provides both current and future disaster preparedness planners with an improved understanding of the levels of water resilience achievable through this strategy and the methodology to achieve it best.

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

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

The Lake Sibaya groundwater-dependent catchment in uMhlabuyalingana (KwaZulu-Natal) has been the focus of hydrological research since the 1970s. The continuous decline in lake water levels and groundwater stores has prompted recent efforts. To increase confidence in the relative attribution of known causes of declines, an existing MODFLOW groundwater model was updated based on reviewed and extended hydrological input datasets and more accurate land-use and land cover (LULC) change data. A novel approach was used in this study, which involved running the ACRU surface-water model in distributed mode to provide dynamic recharge outputs for the groundwater model. This approach considers LULC changes, improved spatial and temporal distribution of climatic data, and land-surface hydrological processes. The refined groundwater model provided satisfactory simulations of the water system in the Lake Sibaya catchment. This study reports on the advances and limitations discovered in this approach, which was used to reassess past to current status quo model simulations for the region. The model was then used, as part of a multidisciplinary project, to assess the response of the lake water system under various LULC preferences based on inputs from local communities under two future climate scenarios (warmer wetter and warmer drier) in the current ongoing WRC project. The ultimate goal is to advise water resources management in the catchment.

Abstract

Globally, rivers, lakes and groundwater face complex anthropogenic water quality alterations posing risks to human health, food security and ecosystems. The World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA) forms an open, global consortium, pooling expertise on water quality science and technology innovation and providing a participatory platform for water quality assessments and co-designing tailored and demand-driven services. It addresses priority topics relevant to water governance, scalable water solutions and emerging issues in water management. The African Use Cases provided an initial testbed that puts the quality of surface water and groundwater into the context of the local 2030 Agenda and its multiple linkages across the Sustainable Development Goals. Central to the initial Africa Use Cases was the integration of in-situ, remote sensing-based earth observation and modelling data to derive the best possible current state of water quality (baseline). Of the three African Use Cases, “Cape Town’s Major Aquifer Systems” focused mainly on groundwater quality in an urban environment. One of the success factors for the Cape Town Aquifer Use Case was the ability of the team to integrate the three different data types of the triangle approach on a sub-catchment scale. This required understanding the complex surface and groundwater systems and their interaction (flow paths and fluxes) in the urban environment. A robust stakeholder engagement process and the introduction of transformative art also drove the success of the Cape Town Use Case. The outcomes of this process will be presented and discussed in this presentation.

Abstract

Urban karst terrains can experience geotechnical issues such as subsidence or collapse induced/accelerated by groundwater withdrawal and civil works. Sete Lagoas, Brazil, is notable for overexploiting a karst aquifer, resulting in drying lakes and geotechnical issues. This study aims to evaluate the progression of geotechnical risk areas from 1940 to 2020 and to simulate future scenarios until 2100. Historical hydraulic head data from the 1940s (when the first pumping well was installed) to the 2000s, a 3D geological model, and a karst-geotechnical risk matrix for defining risk levels were employed to develop a calibrated Feflow numerical model. The results indicate that, before the first well in 1942, the groundwater flow direction was primarily towards the northeast. In the 1980s, due to the concentration of pumping wells in the central area, a cone of depression emerged, causing the flow directions to converge towards the centre of the cone, forming a zone of influence (ZOI) of approximately 30 km². All 20 geotechnical events recorded between 1940 and 2020 have occurred in high or considerable-risk zones where limestone outcrops or is mantled in association with the ZOI. For future scenarios, if the current global well pumping rate (Q = 144,675 m³/d) from 2020 remains constant until 2100, the high and considerable geotechnical risk zones will continue to expand. A 40% decrease in the global rate (Q = 85,200 m³/d) is necessary to achieve a sustainable state, defined by reduced and stabilized risk zones.

Abstract

For 25 years, the UK’s Environment Agency has commissioned groundwater flow models of the main aquifers in England. These regional-scale models are regularly updated, occasionally recalibrated and used for water resources management, regulatory decisions and impact assessment of groundwater abstractions. This range of uses requires consideration of the appropriate scale of data collection and modelling and adaptation of the groundwater models, with refinement where local impacts on individual springs and seasonal streams are considered and combination and simplification for strategic national water resources planning. The Cretaceous Chalk, a soft white limestone, is the major aquifer of southern and eastern England, supplying up to 80% of the drinking water in this densely populated region. Springs and baseflow of good quality groundwater feed Chalk streams, which are a rare and valuable habitat with a high public profile, but face significant challenges in the 21st century, worsened by climate change and population growth. The modelling informs strategic planning and regulatory decisions, but the model’s scale needs to be appropriate for each issue. The presentation defines these issues and presents examples, ranging from the large-scale, strategic Water Resources East to impact assessment for individual groundwater abstractions and more bespoke local investigations, including simulation of groundwater flood risks. As the scale of investigations reduces, there is increasing importance on the accuracy of information, both temporally and spatially. Model refinement made during local investigations can be incorporated into larger-scale models to ensure that this understanding is captured.

Abstract

There is a transboundary groundwater reservoir on the Polish–Ukrainian borderlands, which is of key importance in shaping strategic groundwater resources. Due to the particular importance of this reservoir, the two neighbouring countries are obliged to undertake joint actions to protect it. One of the main difficulties in building a common platform for the management of TBAs in the Polish-Ukrainian border area is the differences in the approach to the identification of GWB, monitoring methodologies and assessment of the condition of GWB, and the inconsistent hydrogeological databases between the two countries. A transboundary numerical groundwater flow model was developed to support internationally integrated management. The model research helped diagnose potential problems by determining the scope of the area with cross-border flows and quantifying the flows between Poland and Ukraine. In addition, the numerical model was used to define the optimal cross-border management unit and the conditions needed to exploit the Lublin–Lviv Reservoir sustainably. Abstraction on a current level slightly increased the transboundary groundwater flow from Poland to Ukraine and minimally reduced the flow in the opposite direction but did not reverse the direction of water flow at the border. The simulated drawdowns do not have a transboundary range, but negative effects on surface water resources are noticeable. Joint management should focus on a broader legal consensus, improvement of institutional relations, and integration of monitoring and groundwater status assessment systems.

Abstract

West of the world-renowned conservation site, Kruger National Park, lies the larger extent of the Greater Kruger National Park within the Limpopo province. Boreholes have been drilled for decades to provide water to game lodges, large resorts, and watering holes for game viewing and livestock. The area contains both primary and secondary aquifers classified as having yields between 0.5 and 5.0 l/s, based on the geological setting, which consists of gneiss intruded by dolerite dyke swarms. A geohydrological assessment revealed that groundwater quality within the project area has an EC of 100 - 350 mS/m, linked to borehole proximity to surface water systems. The Makhutswi Gneiss and Doleritic Dyke swarms are the major controlling geology of the area, with higher-yielding boreholes close to dykes and major structural lineaments (faulted / weathered zones). A concern identified through geohydrological assessment observations is that boreholes frequently dry up after a few years, requiring deeper drilling/redrilling or drilling a new borehole. Aggressive calcium hardness in the water frequently damages equipment and increases maintenance costs. This project investigated the feasibility of increasing recharge to the aquifer with seasonal flooding/rainfall events by constructing artificially enhanced recharge locations overlaying doleritic dykes. This is expected to decrease the groundwater’s salinity and hardness, reducing operational costs. This pre-feasibility assessment has been completed, and the project has continued through a gradual implementation phase.

Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have inhabited the lands now known as Australia for over 65,000 years. Their communities are intricately connected to the land and waters through culture and tradition. However, there are few examples of integrated water resource management that serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities or cultural interests. This is particularly the case for groundwater. In Australia, Indigenous connections to groundwater have historically been overlooked or, in some cases, assumed not to exist. On the contrary, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures have longstanding physical and spiritual connections to a range of artesian and subartesian groundwater resources. These cultures also house accurate records of groundwater systems.

Despite this, groundwater management in Australia remains dominated by Western scientific perspectives, and the groundwater sector poorly integrates Indigenous stakeholder concerns or knowledge into groundwater management and planning. IAH Australia has prepared and signed an Indigenous Groundwater Declaration intending to raise awareness among the groundwater community of the value of Indigenous perspectives and knowledge of groundwater systems. This Declaration can be viewed and signed at http://declaration.iah.org.au. This presentation provides examples of effective partnerships between Indigenous Communities and Government or Academic groundwater professionals. While progress has been made, challenges must be overcome to integrate Indigenous knowledge and connections into groundwater resource management.

Abstract

Huixian Karst National Wetland Park is the most typical karst wetland in the middle and low latitudes of the world and has become an internationally important wetland. The relationship between water quality and aquatic organisms in Huixian Wetland is a hot research topic in wetland ecology. This article focuses on the relationship between the current water quality situation in Guilin Huixian Karst Wetland and the growth of wetland plants. Sixteen sampling points are set up in the wetland to monitor and analyze water quality in wet, normal, and dry seasons. The Kriging index interpolation method is used to obtain a comprehensive water quality interpolation map in the survey area during normal water periods and in combination with the wetland plant survey sample data and the landscape status. A comprehensive analysis of the relationship between wetland plant growth and water quality. The results show that the centre of Huixian Wetland receives recharge from surrounding groundwater, which is greatly affected by the surrounding water quality. The comprehensive water quality is relatively good in the dry season, relatively poor in the normal season, and the worst in the wet season. Agricultural production, non-point source pollution, rural domestic sewage, and human interference affect wetland water quality, which directly affects the structure and function of plant communities and the ecological service function of wetlands.