Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 101 - 150 of 795 results
Title Presenter Name Presenter Surname Area Conference year Keywords

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

The National Park Plitvice Lakes (NPPL) in the Republic of Croatia was declared in 1949 due to its exceptional natural beauty. However, in addition to its attraction, the NPPL also encompasses an area of significant karstic water resources in the Dinaric karst region, on the border between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea catchment. In some parts, groundwater connections to the Klokot Spring and Una River in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been assumed by hydrogeological research and proven by tracing tests, which confirm transboundary aquifer. Assessing transboundary aquifer systems already presents challenges in managing this area, considering not only the well-defined physical catchment. Therefore, comprehensive protection is necessary, which must reconcile people’s aspirations for spatial development with the sustainability of natural systems. Protecting karstic water resources can be achieved through separate analyses of the natural vulnerability of surface and groundwater and their integration into a comprehensive protection system. Protection should be layered through three levels: (1) protecting the area from the impact of the upstream catchment, (2) protecting surface water in the catchment that is most affected by anthropogenic influences, and (3) protecting the surrounding area from the impact of the NPPL, which with numerous visitors every year and tourist facilities, also represents significant pressure on downstream catchments. The ultimate goal is a scientifically based proposal for sustainable development of the protected area, in line with the needs of protection and spatial use, and based on an assessment of the overall risk to water resources.

Abstract

The beneficial groundwater use in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is well documented. Groundwater plays a vital role in the freshwater supply mix and, in some cases, is the only source of freshwater, especially in the arid region of SADC. However, the management of this resource is hampered by numerous challenges, such as lack of data, limited tools to leverage available data, lack of resources, institutional mismanagement, and climate change, amongst others. Of these challenges, the lack of data and the tools needed to transform this data into information has consequences for the decision-making process. Hence, this research attempts to address this challenge by demonstrating the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to fill data gaps with new unconventional sources and model groundwater processes to transform data into actionable information. The presentation focuses on introducing the landscape of groundwater big data in SADC, followed by a review of regional AI applications. After that, novel approaches to using AI in various aquifers across SADC are demonstrated in their applicability to support groundwater management. Finally, the challenges facing the use of AI in SADC are discussed, followed by opportunities for new research based on the current state-of-the-art AI techniques. The results illustrate that AI can be a helpful tool for supporting groundwater management in SADC. However, the need for enhanced data collection is evident for these techniques to be generally applicable.

Abstract

In this study, we assess the potential of large riverbed aquifers in semi-arid Africa, known as sand rivers, to mitigate water scarcity and salinity for multiple-use water supply through a case study of the Limpopo River in Mozambique. Such sand river systems are widespread and still heavily underused at a regional scale, particularly in Mozambique, with the riparian vegetation currently being the primary user, though only consuming a minor fraction of available water. At a local scale, we performed geoelectrical surveys, water level measurements (in river and groundwater), as well as field physicochemical measurements and hydrochemical and isotopic sampling at 38 locations in the river channel, margins and up to 6 km away from the river, over five years. Results show that these shallow systems can be up to a kilometer wide and 15 m thick and, at some locations, can extend laterally beyond the river channel, below thin layers of clay and silt. Large areas of the sand river channel carry runoff yearly, providing optimal conditions for rapid recharge into the coarse sands with a high storage capacity. Connectivity between the river margin and channel is clearly shown at the local scale, even though sand pockets located further away appear isolated (revealed by geophysics), isotopically different and more brackish. Recharge, evapotranspiration and mixing processes are confirmed through hydrogeochemical modelling. The proven connectivity is highly relevant as groundwater is abstracted locally, promoting socio-economic development in water-scarce regions.

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

Although methane occurrences have been documented in Karoo groundwater in the past, the advent of possible unconventional oil and gas extraction now made it important to determine the type and origin of this methane to assess the possibility of shallow-deep groundwater interaction. During groundwater surveys from 2016-2021, methane was detected at three sites in the Western Karoo: the Soekor sites KL1/65, QU1/65 and an unidentified shallow groundwater borehole (BHA). The Soekor wells were drilled in the 1960-1970s to depths of between 2500-3500 meters in South Africa’s search for oil. On the other hand, Borehole BHA was drilled in 1998 and only up to a depth of 298m. This study aimed to determine methane’s origin through gas and isotope analyses. To do this, groundwater, rock and soil samples were analysed to determine whether the methane is thermogenic or biogenic and its origin. We determined that methane was both thermogenic and biogenic and probably originated from different layers of the Karoo formations and that mixing occurs between deep and shallow aquifer systems at these Soekor sites. This information was used to develop a final conceptual model of what the Karoo underground system might look like and to make recommendations for establishing a groundwater baseline.

Abstract

Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on freshwater resources across the globe. Changes in the distribution and quantities of rainfall over the coming decade will impact various earth systems, such as vegetation, contributions to streamflow, sub-surface infiltration and recharge. While groundwater resources are expected to act as a buffer, changes in rainfall will ultimately impact the recharge process and, thus, groundwater reserves. Understanding these changes is a crucial step to adapt better and mitigate climate change’s impacts on water resources. This is valid in South Africa, where much of the population depends on groundwater as a freshwater supply. Hence, this research presents the status quo regarding climate change’s impacts on South Africa’s groundwater resources. Reviewing relevant literature, the impacts on recharge, groundwater quantity (storage changes), discharge and groundwater-surface water interactions, groundwater quality, and groundwater-dependent ecosystems are discussed. In addition, utilizing factors such as rainfall, slope and vegetation cover collected from CMIP6 climate projections, changes in groundwater recharge potential from the past through the present and future are demonstrated. The findings illustrate uncertainty over the long-term impacts of climate change on groundwater for different regions and various aquifers. However, global warming could lead to reduced recharge, which impacts groundwater reserves.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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 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

The serpentinization of ultramafic rocks is a process in which minerals of ferromagnesian nature (e.g., olivine) are transformed into serpentine and produce groundwater with a very high pH. In these settings, CH4 can be produced by combining H2 from serpentinization and CO2 from the atmosphere, soil, carbon-bearing rocks, or mantle, although the microbial generation of CH4, mediated by methanogens utilizing CO2, formate and/or acetate can be another source in these aquifers. In this sense, the hydrochemistry of hyperalkaline springs can provide valuable information about gas origin. The Ronda peridotites (Malaga province, Spain) are one of the world’s largest outcrops of the subcontinental mantle (~450 km2). Hyperalkaline springs (pH>10) emerging along faults present a permanent low outflow (<1 L/s), Ca2+- OH- facies and residence times exceeding 2,000 years. The fluids, poor in Mg2+ and rich in K+, Na+, Ca2+ and Cl-, also contain significant concentrations of dissolved CH4 and other hydrocarbons. Water samples have been collected from eight hyperalkaline springs and analyzed for major, minor and trace elements, including Platinum Group Elements (PGE) and Total Organic Carbon (TOC). The most mobile PGEs (Pd and Rh) are present in all the springs, indicating the existence of potential catalysts for the abiotic synthesis of CH4. High TOC concentrations are observed in some studied springs where previous analyses (i.e., bulk CH4 isotopes) have indicated a microbial CH4 origin.

Abstract

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

Abstract

The response of an alluvial and estuarine deposit aquifer, locally known as the Harbour Beds Formation, located in the coastal area of the Durban Metropolitan District to 48 hours of group well pumping is studied to understand its potential for groundwater supply and consequent seawater intrusion. Groundwater levels were monitored from the three pumped boreholes and piezometers. Similarly, EC, TDS and pH were monitored every hour from the boreholes and piezometers. Hydrochemical and water isotopes (2H and 18O) samples of groundwater were taken at 12, 18, 24, 36, 42 and 48 hours during pumping. The results indicate that the aquifer has a transmissivity, hydraulic conductivity and storativity of 48.97 m2/d, 1.7 m/day and 0.0032, respectively. The generally monitored EC, TDS, and pH have been fairly constant during the pumping period and didn’t show any seawater intrusion. Similarly, the hydrochemical data monitored for the three boreholes show general Na-CaHCO3-Cl-dominated groundwater throughout the pumping duration. However, uneven drawdown distribution and complex groundwater flow conditions indicate that the aquifer structure and hydraulic properties are heterogeneous. The water isotopes (2H and 18O) monitoring during the test pumping suggests spatial variability regarding water recharging the Harbour Beds aquifer. Though limited in area extent, the Harbour Beds Formation aquifer is a productive aquifer with acceptable water quality and can be a viable water source for domestic and industrial uses. However, continuous long-term monitoring of water quality and groundwater levels using data loggers is recommended to prevent induced seawater intrusion and contamination.

Abstract

Groundwater is an essential source of water worldwide. The increased reliance on groundwater has caused the mining of many aquifers, a situation compounded by climate change, rising surface-air temperature, declining precipitation, and reduced groundwater recharge in many regions. The global annual intensity of groundwater use rose from 128 to 155 m3 per capita between 1950 (when the world population was 2.5 billion people) and 2021 (when the population was 7.9 billion people) and is herein projected to rise to 178 m3 per capita by 2050 as the world’s population is projected to increase (to 9.7 billion people by 2050) throughout the rest of the 21st century and beyond. This study projects a global annual groundwater depletion of 1,008 km3 by 2050, representing a 256% rise from the estimated 2010 depletion. This projection is most likely a lower bound of the actual groundwater depletion that would be realized considering environmental flows, historical trends of global economic growth, and climate-change impacts, thus being a harbinger of rising environmental degradation (e.g., land subsidence, seawater intrusion, streamflow reduction, aridification). Measures to achieve groundwater sustainability are herein identified.

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

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

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

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

Abstract

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

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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Recharge is one of the most significant parameters in determining the sustainability volume of groundwater that can be abstracted from an aquifer system. This paper provides an updated overview and understanding of potential and actual groundwater recharge and its implications for informing decision-makers on efficiently managing groundwater resources. The paper argues that the issue of potential and actual recharge has not been adequately addressed in many groundwater recharge studies, and if not properly addressed, this may lead to erroneous interpretation and poor implementation of groundwater resource allocations. Groundwater recharge has been estimated using various methods, revised and improved over the last decade. However, despite numerous recharge methods, many studies still fail to distinguish that some assess potential recharge while others estimate actual recharge. The application of multiple recharge methods usually provides a wide range of recharge rates, which should be interpreted in relation to the type of recharge they represent; as a result, the wide range of recharge findings from different methods does not necessarily imply that any of them are erroneous. A precise distinction should, therefore, be made between the potential amount of water available for recharge from the vadose zone and the actual recharge reaching the water table. This study cautions groundwater practitioners against using “potential recharge values” to allocate groundwater resources to users. The results of this paper may be useful in developing sustainable groundwater resource management plans for water managers.

Abstract

The Kavango West and East regions are situated in a semi-arid area northeast of Namibia and bounded by the perennial Okavango River on the northern border. Groundwater in the area is the main source of water supply for the inhabitants living further from the river. In addition, most bulk water users along the river have boreholes for their water supply. With a semi-arid climate, drought in the regions is common and inflicts devastating effects on local communities. More drought relief boreholes are being drilled to sustain communities, increasing the dependency of the inhabitants on groundwater. The complexity of the behaviour and nature of the groundwater in the regions is poorly understood, and there are no strategies to manage these aquifers properly. As a result, an attempt was made to better understand the groundwater potential by examining several hydrogeological factors involved. A basic water-balance approach was used in determining the groundwater potential of the middle and lower Kalahari aquifers. The total resource potential for the entire region is estimated at 144 447.16 x 106 m3 /a, demonstrating great resource potential with significant storage space.

The greatest potential is shown in the middle Kalahari aquifers, comprising about 94% of the total resource. Groundwater recharge, as one of the hydrogeological factors, was determined using the chloride mass balance method, giving an average of 6.03 mm/a for the entire study area. If utilized sustainably, the Kalahari aquifers can sustain most communities within the two regions, especially those further from the Okavango River.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

he Namphu and Rangbua subdistricts in Ratchaburi province, in western Thailand, are affected by groundwater contamination. According to site characterization results, the aquifer has been contaminated with volatile organic compounds and heavy metals since 2014. Membrane filtration technology is an alternative method for treating groundwater to produce safe drinking water for household use. Nanofiltration membrane is a relatively recent development in membrane technology with characteristics that fall between ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis (RO). This study aimed to determine the hydrochemistry of contaminated groundwater and examine the efficiency of nanofiltration membranes for removing pollutants in groundwater and the potential implementation of the membrane. The membrane module used in this study is cylindrical in shape of 101.6 cm long and 6.4 cm in diameter, and the membrane surface charge is negative with monovalent rejection (NaCl) of 85-95%.

The filtration experiments were conducted at a pressure of 0.4-0.6 MPa, which yielded flow rates of approximately 2 L/min. To examine the nanofiltration membrane efficiency, groundwater samples were extracted from four monitoring wells and were used as feed water. According to laboratory results, the nanofiltration maximum removal efficiencies for 1,2-dichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, benzene, nickel, and manganese were 97, 99, 98, 99, and 99%, respectively. However, the treatment efficiency depends on several factors, including pretreatment requirements, influent water quality and the lifespan of the membrane. Further research should be conducted to determine the maximum concentration of VOCs and heavy metals in the feed water before applying this treatment method to a large scale.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

Groundwater (GW) is a target of climate change (CC), and the effects become progressively more evident in recent years. Many studies reported the effects on GW quantity, but of extreme interest is also the assessment of qualitative impacts, especially on GW temperature (GWT), because of the consequences they could have. This study aims to systematically review the published papers dealing with CC and GWT, to determine the impacts of CC on GWT, and to highlight possible consequences. Scopus and Web of Science databases were consulted, obtaining 144 papers. However, only 45 studies were considered for this review after a screening concerning eliminating duplicate papers, a first selection based on title and abstract, and an analysis of topic compatibility through examination of the full texts. The analysed scientific production from all five continents covers 1995-2023 and was published in 29 journals. As a result of the review, GWT variations due to CC emerged as of global interest and have attracted attention, especially over the past two decades, with a multidisciplinary approach. A general increase in GWTs is noted as a primary effect of CC (especially in urban areas); furthermore, the implications of the temperature increase for contaminants and groundwater-dependent ecosystems were analysed, and various industrial applications for this increase (e.g. geothermy) are evaluated. It’s evident from the review that GWT is vulnerable to CC, and the consequences can be serious and worthy of further investigation.

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

The 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 discharge is crucial for transporting terrestrial carbon into streams and rivers, but the effects of groundwater flow paths on terrestrial carbon inputs are poorly understood. Here, we investigated environmental tracers (EC, Cl-, 2H, 18O, 220Rn, and 222Rn) and carbon concentrations in riparian groundwater, streambed groundwater, and stream water over six groundwater-stream monitoring sites. Significantly high 220Rn and 222Rn activities in the stream and endmember analysis results of the environmental tracers reveal that vertical groundwater discharge from the streambed (VGD) and lateral groundwater discharge from the riparian zone (LGD) is of equal importance for the stream. We quantified VGD by modelling the detailed 222Rn and Cl- profiles at the streambed and then combined differential flow gauging to estimate LGD. VGD (2.9 ± 1.4 m2 d-1) prevailed in relatively wide and shallow channels, while LGD (2.6 ± 2.6 m2 d-1) dominated narrow and deep channels. Carbon measurements indicate that LGD had the highest CO2, CH4, DIC, and DOC, while VGD had relatively higher CO2 but lower CH4, DIC, and DOC than stream water. Our findings suggest that LGD is the primary carbon source for the stream, while VGD mainly dilutes the stream (except CO2). Finally, we observed that groundwater discharge and temperature overrode metabolism in controlling stream carbon dynamics, implying the importance of groundwater discharge for understanding stream carbon cycling. Overall, this study identified the impacts of groundwater flow paths on carbon exchanges between terrestrial and stream ecosystems.

Abstract

Water balance partitioning within dryland intermittent and ephemeral streams controls water availability to riparian ecosystems, the magnitude of peak storm discharge and groundwater replenishment. Poorly understood is how superficial geology can play a role in governing the spatiotemporal complexity in flow processes. We combine a new and unusually rich set of integrated surface water and groundwater observations from a catchment in semi-arid Australia with targeted geophysical characterisation of the subsurface to elucidate how configurations of superficial geology surrounding the stream control the variability in streamflow and groundwater responses. We show how periods of stable stream stage consistently follow episodic streamflow peaks before subsequent rapid recession and channel drying. The duration of the stable phases increases in duration downstream to a maximum of 44±3 days before reducing abruptly further downstream. The remarkable consistency in the flow duration of the stable flow periods, regardless of the size of the preceding streamflow peak, suggests a geological control. By integrating the surface water, groundwater and geological investigations, we developed a conceptual model that proposes two primary controls on this behaviour which influence the partitioning of runoff: (1) variations in the permeability contrast between recent channel alluvium and surrounding deposits, (2) the longitudinal variations in the volume of the recent channel alluvial storage. We hypothesise optimal combinations of these controls can create a ‘Goldilocks zone’ that maximises riparian water availability and potential for groundwater recharge in certain landscape settings and that these controls likely exist as a continuum in many dryland catchments globally.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.