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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

Test-pumping drawdown curves do not always sufficiently indicate aquifer characteristics and geometry and should never be analysed in isolation. Using derivative analysis and flow dimension theory, inferring the regional geometries and flow characteristics of fractured aquifers that are otherwise unknown or inconclusive is possible. As the drawdown and/or pressure front propagates through the aquifer, it reaches various hydrogeological objects that influence flow regimes and imprints a sequence of signatures in the drawdown derivative curve. The conjunctive interpretation of these flow regime sequences and hydrogeological data results in a robust, well-informed conceptual model (in terms of both local groundwater flow and the aquifer), which is vital for sustainable groundwater resource management. Derivative and flow regime analysis was applied to the test-pumping data of confined and unconfined Nardouw Aquifer (Table Mountain Group) boreholes within Steenbras Wellfield (Western Cape). Major NE-SW trending folding and transtensional Steenbras-Brandvlei Megafault Zone, in association with cross-cutting faults/fractures and younger False Bay Suite dykes, make the Nardouw Aquifer (and deeper Peninsula Aquifer) hydrogeologically complex. The sequential flow regime analyses reveal domains of conceptual flow models, including open vertical fractures, T-shaped channels, double (triple) porosity models, and leaky/recharge boundary models, amongst others. Appropriate analytical flow models (type curve fitting) are then applied for accurate aquifer parameter estimations, which are used to evaluate recommended long-term yields through predictive pumping scenarios. The outcome is an improved hydrogeological understanding and enhanced conceptual model of the aquifer, which informs numerical modelling, ecological protection, and groundwater resource management.

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

Crystalline basement underlies much of Africa, and the groundwater within the shallow, weathered layer provides reliable drinking water for many people. This resource is key in adapting to changing climate, particularly in providing reliable water for drinking and smallscale irrigation. However, this requires higher yields from boreholes than currently abstracted. Renewed research is required to investigate sustainable yields from this type of aquifer and how it varies spatially. Recent work on crystalline basement rocks in Africa has shown that there are a number of important geological and geomorphological controls on shallow aquifer parameters; variability of geological properties and the impact of the landscape history is likely to have a strong control. Typically, the basement has experienced high metamorphic grades, which reduces intergranular porosity. Consequently, the aquifer relies on the presence of fault/ fracture zones; and the regolith’s depth and nature, which can have significantly higher porosity and permeability than the underlying bedrock. The interaction and variability of these key factors and climatic and landuse variables are likely to impact shallow aquifer productivity strongly. Here, we report on an ongoing study by UK and African scientists to understand how to represent the variability of geological, regolith and landscape factors across African crystalline basements. In tandem, a data-driven modelling approach is being used to examine these controls’ influence on groundwater yields. Continental-scale mapping of basement groundwater yield is planned, supporting those planning further aquifer development, including the growing use of solar-powered pumps.

Abstract

The occurrence of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) in the aquatic environment is of no surprise since these are applied for various purposes daily. This study investigated the changes in EOCs concentrations in the water between 2019 and 2020. During rainy seasons, samples were collected from dams and surrounding boreholes in the Eastern Basin of the Witwatersrand Goldfields. During the first and second laboratory analyses, 24 and 11 analytes were screened in the water samples. The findings indicated that in 2020, compounds such as caffeine, sulfamethoxazole, atrazine and metolachlor displayed detection frequency exceeding 2019. This indicates that the occurrence of these compounds in the aquatic system has increased within a year. Whilst carbamazepine was still traced in 12 sites as previously observed in 2019, compounds estradiol, estrone, bisphenol A and ibuprofen were traced in fewer sites than they were detected in 2019. Compounds 4-nonylphenol, methylparaben, caffeine and atrazine were detected in all the samples analysed for 2019 and 2020, respectively. Antiretrovirals (ARVs) were analysed once and were detected in most sites, with efavirenz registering the highest (12/18) detection frequency. Assessing the occurrence of EOCs in boreholes according to the depth indicated that bisphenol A and estrone were traced in greater concentrations in deep than shallow aquifers, whilst the opposite was observed for atrazine. This study showed groundwater susceptibility to contamination by EOCs, with concentrations of most compounds increasing with time due to their high usage and improper sewer systems in the area.

Abstract

Salinization is one of the main threats to groundwater quality worldwide, affecting water security, crop productivity and biodiversity. The Horn of Africa, including eastern Ethiopia, northeast Kenya, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia, has natural characteristics favouring high groundwater salinity. However, available salinity data are widely scattered, lacking a comprehensive overview of this hazard. To fill this gap, machine learning modelling was used to spatially predict patterns of high salinity with a dataset of 6300 groundwater quality measurements and various environmental predictors. Maps of groundwater salinity were produced for thresholds of 800, 1500 and 2500 μS/cm. The main drivers include precipitation, groundwater recharge, evaporation, ocean proximity, and fractured rocks. The combined overall model accuracy and area under the curve of multiple runs were both ~81%. The salinity maps highlight the uneven spatial distribution of salinity, with the affected areas mainly located in arid, flat lowlands.

These novel and high-resolution hazard maps (1 km2 resolution) further enable estimating the population potentially exposed to hazardous salinity levels. This analysis shows that about 11.5 million people (~7% of the total population) living in high-salinity areas, including 400,000 infants and half a million pregnant women, rely on groundwater for drinking. Somalia is the most affected country, with an estimated 5 million people potentially exposed. The created hazard maps are valuable decision-support tools for government agencies and water resource managers in helping direct salinity mitigation efforts

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

There is an urgent need to support the sustainable development of groundwater resources, which are under increasing pressure from competing uses of subsurface geo-resources, compounded by land use and climate change impacts. Management of groundwater resources is crucial for enabling the green transition and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) is a project-based classification system for defining the environmental-socio-economic viability and technical feasibility of projects to develop resources and recently extended for groundwater. UNFC provides a consistent framework to describe the level of confidence in groundwater resources by the project and is designed to meet the needs of applications pertaining to (i) Policy formulation based on geo-resource studies, (ii) Geo-resource management functions, (iii) Business processes; and (iv) Financial capital allocation. To extend use in groundwater resources management, supplemental specifications have been developed for the UNFC that provide technical guidance to the community of groundwater professionals to enhance sustainable resource management based on improved decision-making. This includes addressing barriers to sustainably exploiting groundwater resources, avoiding lack of access to water and also related to ‘common pool resources’ in which multiple allocations are competing with domestic water supply (e.g. geo-energy, minerals, agriculture and ecosystems, and transboundary allocation of natural resources). UNFC for groundwater resources is designed to enhance governance to protect the environment and traditional users while ensuring socio-economic benefits to society. Consequently, it is a valid and promising tool for assessing both the sustainability and feasibility of groundwater management at local, national and international levels.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

The aquifers in the Chao Phraya River basin region were abundant in groundwater. Lately, the groundwater level has been declining due to agricultural activities. While in the wet season, these areas frequently suffered from flooding due to lower elevation than their surroundings. The Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) methods were applied to ease problems by constructing artificial recharge wells which can detain stormwater runoff and let it gradually infiltrate into the aquifer directly. For decades, the Department of Groundwater Resources started the MAR project to alleviate groundwater depletion and flooding over specific areas. However, most of the projects in the past lacked follow-up results and evaluation. Thus, later projects attempted to study recharge processes to evaluate the volume of recharged water through structures and calculate the infiltration rate through filter layers within the structures.

Recently, the field experiments of artificial groundwater recharge were conducted as 8-hour and 20-day experiments with shallow recharge wells in the Chao Phraya River basin regions. These two types of experiments provided similar results. The average recharge rates of 8-hour and 20-day experiments are 2.22 m3/hr and 2.57 m3/hr, respectively. Recharge rates of each well were independently distinct depending on sedimentation characteristics, aquifer thickness, and volume of dry voids. During the test, the recharge well continuously encountered the problem of sediment clogging due to using untreated water from neighbouring streams and ponds. This clogging issue needed to be treated regularly to maintain the efficiency of the recharge well.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Streamwater and groundwater are changing in the Arctic region because of significant climate warming. Arctic amplification has intensified the melting of snow cover, glaciers and permafrost, leading to a prominent variation in the annual discharge of rivers, the groundwater occurrence, and their relationships. In high-latitude regions, evaluating groundwater flux/storage and river discharge is challenging due to a lack of hydrogeological data. Changes in river flows and groundwater discharge will alter freshwater and terrigenous material flux, with implications for freshwater and marine ecosystems. Consequently, a more timely and accurate evaluation of surface and groundwater is required. In this framework, through the ICEtoFLUX project (MUR/PRA2021/project-0027), hydrology, geophysics and geochemical-isotopic surveys have been started during 2022 in the Bayelva River catchment (W-Svalbard) from its glaciers and periglacial/proglacial systems up to the Kongsfjorden. The study aims to quantify hydrologic processes and related transport of matter (solid transport, chemical solutes flux) and investigate how subsurface and surface waters interact during active layer development. The first results suggest that electrical conductivity and total suspended solids increase from glaciers to the Bayelva monitoring station, about 1 km from the coast. Seasonal evolution of physical-chemical features was also observed. Results from geophysics data and piezometers indicate that the underground flow is spatially and temporally heterogeneous, both quantitatively and from a physicochemical-isotopic point of view. Springwater characteristics testify to a deep and well-organized groundwater flow path system. This study highlights the high complexity of these systems and their high sensitivity to the meteo-climatic regimes.

Abstract

The City of Windhoek in Namibia has developed wellfields and a managed aquifer recharge scheme within the fractured Windhoek Aquifer to ensure a sustainable potable water supply to the city during drought. A three-dimensional numerical groundwater model of the aquifer was developed using the finite-difference code MODFLOW to determine the potential impacts of varying pump inlet depth elevations and varying production borehole abstraction rates for optimal wellfield and aquifer management. The initial steady-state numerical model was calibrated to September 2011 groundwater levels, representing the best approximation of “aquifer full” conditions (following a good rainfall period and best available data). The subsequent transient numerical model was calibrated against groundwater level fluctuations from September 2011 to August 2019, the period after steady-state calibration for which data was available (and during which monitored groundwater abstraction occurred). The calibrated transient model was used to run various predictive scenarios related to increased emergency groundwater abstraction and estimate potential impacts on the Windhoek Aquifer. These predictive scenarios assessed groundwater level drawdown and recovery, aquifer storage potential, and potential abstraction rates under different pump elevations. Model results indicated a sharp initial groundwater level drop followed by a gradual decrease as groundwater levels approached the 100 m saturated depth mark. Pumping elevations were subsequently updated with recommended abstraction rates and volumes for the entire Windhoek Aquifer. The numerical groundwater model, in association with extensive groundwater monitoring, will be used to assess/manage the long-term sustainable and optimal utilisation of the Windhoek Aquifer.

Abstract

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

Abstract

Integrated geophysical methods can be useful tools in mapping the subsurface characteristics likely to control groundwater occurrence and hence are useful in identifying potential drill targets in different aquifer formations in Southern Africa. This study applied hydrogeophysical methods (natural, electrical, and electromagnetic) to identify potential groundwater-bearing targets within the Kalahari sand aquifers in Namibia and the crystalline basement aquifer system in Namibia and South Africa. The results suggest that hydrogeophysical assessments in Kalahari sandstone aquifers could clearly show that the system exhibits a well-defined layered aquifer formation likely recharged from surface water. On the other hand, crystalline basement formations could be combined with geological observations and used to identify groundwater controls like lineaments and depths to fractured zones. The magnetic method, horizontal and vertical frequency domain electromagnetic geophysical methods presented herein managed to delineate the main dykes and lineament features associated with groundwater occurrence in typical crystalline basement aquifers, while the natural magneto telluric investigations managed to delineate the deep and shallow aquifer formation in Kalahari sandstone aquifer formation. The study also advocates for integrating geophysical methods with local and regional geology for groundwater evaluation to provide a more detailed approach to resource assessment in some of the vulnerable aquifer systems in Southern Africa. Results from this study are useful for technical groundwater management and promoting the utilization of groundwater as a climate-resilient strategy in Southern Africa.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

Groundwater is a vital freshwater source, and its role in meeting water demands will become pivotal under future climate change and population growth. However, groundwater supply to meet this demand is at risk as aquifers can be rapidly contaminated, and the cost of aquifer rehabilitation and/or sourcing alternative water supplies can be high. The development of groundwater protection schemes is required to ensure long-term protection of groundwater quality and sustainable groundwater supply. A groundwater protection scheme is a practical and proactive means to maintain groundwater quality and forms an additional methodology for groundwater resource management/protection. There are no legislative guidelines on establishing groundwater protection schemes in water-scarce South Africa, despite groundwater being used extensively. Three groundwater protection schemes were designed and implemented to protect abstraction from a fractured aquifer in an undeveloped natural mountain catchment and two primary aquifers within different urban settings. The approach incorporated protection zone delineation (comprising four zones), aquifer vulnerability mapping/ ranking using the DRASTIC method (with the primary and fractured aquifer systems having varying vulnerabilities), and identification of potentially contaminating activities (which also vary significantly between the urban areas overlying the two primary aquifers, and the generally undeveloped natural mountain catchment fractured aquifer is situated within). Additionally, a protection response was established to determine monitoring frequencies. Practical insights into the design and implementation of these three groundwater protection schemes can serve as a model for implementation in other African aquifer systems.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

To increase the security of groundwater resources, managed aquifer recharge (MAR) programs have been developed and implemented globally. MAR is the intentional recharge and storage of water in an aquifer, which will be recovered later. It was previously known and implemented as Artificial Recharge (AR). In South Africa, the documented practice dates back 40 years. There are five main MAR methods: Well-Shaft-Borehole, Spreading-induced bank infiltration, In-channel modifications, and Runoff harvesting. Two regional-scale MAR suitability maps for the Spreading Method (SM) and the Well-Shaft-Borehole (WSB) Method were compiled for South Africa, using the Geographic Information System combined with Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (GIS-MCDA) methodology. Parameters used to compute the maps included the nature of the different aquifers, groundwater level, water quality (EC), distance to river, terrain slope, mean annual rainfall, land cover, soil moisture availability and clogging (Fe-iron content). To create a suitability map, the parameters were combined using the weighted overlay method and the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP – specifically the pairwise comparison). The site suitability maps indicated that most areas in South Africa are suitable for the Spreading and Well-Shaft-Borehole methods. The results were verified with the location of existing MAR schemes and were found to agree. However, these maps are not applicable for siting projects at a local scale but can serve as a guide and screening tool for site-specific studies looking for highly suitable or target areas for MAR implementation

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

The devastating socioeconomic impacts of recent droughts have intensified the need for improved drought monitoring in South Africa (SA). This study has shown that not all indices can be universally applicable to all regions worldwide, and no single index can represent all aspects of droughts. This study aimed to review the performance and applicability of the Palmer drought severity index (PDSI), surface water supply index (SWSI), vegetation condition index (VCI), standardised precipitation index (SPI), standardised precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI), standardised streamflow index (SSI), standardised groundwater index (SGI), and GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment)-based drought indices in SA and provide guidelines for selecting feasible candidates for integrated drought monitoring. The review is based on the 2016 World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Handbook of Drought Indicators and Indices guidelines. The PDSI and SWSI are not feasible in SA, mainly because they are relatively complex to compute and interpret and cannot use readily available and accessible data. Combining the SPI, SPEI, VCI, SSI, and SGI using multi-index or hybrid methods is recommended. Hence, with best fitting probability distribution functions (PDFs) used and an informed choice between parametric and non-parametric approaches, this combination has the potential for integrated drought monitoring. Due to the scarcity of groundwater data, investigations using GRACE-based groundwater drought indices must be carried out. These findings may contribute to improved drought early warning and monitoring in SA.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

Groundwater is a hidden resource, so as part of making it more visible, geophysical methods can be very useful in inferring the delineation of aquifers and/or more productive zones to target in fractured rock environments. The most commonly used techniques to assist groundwater studies or exploration are still resistivity profiles or sections known as ERT or electrical resistivity tomography and vertical electrical soundings or VES. One of the limiting factors with this technique is the scale of what surveys can be conducted, resulting in, at best, some kilometers per day. The Hydrogeophysics group of Aarhus University have developed the towed transient electromagnetic (tTEM) system as a cost-efficient tool for characterizing regional hydrological systems to depths of up to 70 m as an alternative to these more traditional methods - which is highly productive in that collection of 40- to-80-line kilometers of data per day is feasible. The system is based on the transient electromagnetic (TEM) method, which involves using a transmitter and receiver coil to measure the electrical resistivity of the subsurface. The hydrological value in electrical resistivity images stems from the ability to delineate different hydrogeological units based on their contrasting electrical properties. Consequently, 3D electrical resistivity images can infer the subsurface hydrogeology and enhance the success of installing productive boreholes. This work presents case studies from several African countries (e.g., South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Togo). It demonstrates how the tTEM method can identify reliable drinking water sources in these countries.

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

Studies have examined the effects of groundwater pumping on nearby streams. Groundwater pumping affects streamflow, surface water rights, and aquatic ecosystems. This study investigates the impact of groundwater abstraction on surface water bodies. A secondary objective aims to develop a conceptual model to evaluate alternative approaches for streamflow depletion. The study area is a previous UFS/WRC test site along Modder River, Free State, South Africa. Streamflow depletion was simulated using four (4) analytical solutions, i.e., Jenkins (1968), Hantush (1964), Hunt (1999) and Hunt (2003). STRMDEPL08 analytical computer program tool is used to evaluate streamflow depletion. The aquifer parameters: distance of the boreholes to the stream; pumping periods analyzed in steady states conditions for a simulation period of 1 year; transmissivity with an average of 71 m/d; storativity of 0.02; specific yield of the aquitard range between 0.1 to 0.3; and abstraction rate of 2 l/s are defined for the hypothetical model. The average distances tested range from 10 m to 6,000 m. Pumping rate scenarios for an order of magnitude lower (0.2 l/s), 1 l/s; 4 l/s, and an order of magnitude larger (20 l/s) were simulated. Simulated graphs indicate that streamflow depletion rates are largest if the borehole is closer to the stream and decrease as the distance of the pumped borehole from the stream increases. Cumulative volume graphs for both analytical solutions decrease streamflow depletion volume

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

Nearly 1.9 billion people live in marginal environments, including drylands, semiarid, arid, and hyperarid environments. Obscure but ubiquitous circular pockmark depressions dot these lands. These circular depressions can range from a few meters to kilometers, and the depth of these depressions varies from a few centimeters to over 10 m. However, the genesis of the circles has been investigated among scientists for many years because of their obscure nature. Some researchers believe that termites cause fairy circles, while others believe they are caused by plants competing for water and nutrients. This study documented the Africa-wide prevalence and extent of the pockmarks for the first time, and it further classified the pockmarks according to their genesis and hydrological roles. We further investigated their relevance in serving as nature-based solutions to overcome water scarcity in dryland regions. So far, field evidence in Ethiopia and Somalia showed that these features potentially have water security significance in a) organizing surface water flows over arid/semi-arid landscapes, b) serving as the site of temporary surface water storage, and c) serving as the site of focused groundwater recharge into the underlying aquifers. This presentation will highlight the spatial prevalence, extent, and genesis model of the pockmarks across the drylands in Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Chad, Senegal, Mali, Niger, etc.).