Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 1 - 50 of 795 results
Title Presenter Name Presenter Surname Area Conference year Keywords

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

Abstract

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

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

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

Abstract

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 work presented in this paper incorporates spring data for further conceptualizing the hydrogeology of northern Namibia’s so-called “Karst Area”, an area around the towns of Tsumeb, Otavi and Grootfontein. Also called the Otavi Mountainland, it can be described as a mountainous highland of parallel, east-west trending elongated valleys and ranges shaped by the underlying folded units of carbonate rocks of the Damara Supergroup. The karst aquifers are a supplementary source to the central areas of the country during drought. Most of these 35 springs are often found near hilltop crests or high up on the mountain flanks rather than lower down at the valley floors. If flows are generated locally as gravity or contact overflow springs, studying them would not add much to conceptualizing the regional groundwater flow. Fundamental insights are provided if flows arise due to hydraulic pressure from deeper down. As artesian boreholes do not occur as a rule in the Karst Area, artesian springs might indicate the presence of deeper aquifers out of reach at normal drilling depth. One such hypothesis is that the bottom of the dolomitic synclines, structurally weaker at the fold axis, had been subjected to deep-seated karstification. The work presented here investigates that possibility and argues for and against it. In addition, established concepts of groundwater flow mechanisms for the area have been revisited. A conclusion has not yet been reached, but the balance of the arguments is presented.

Abstract

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

Abstract

The results of a full field application of a DNA-based nano tracer in an arenitic aquifer are presented along with the comparison with the breakthrough of a classical tracer injected in parallel. DNA is encapsulated into amorphous silica spheres (nanoparticles), protecting the molecule from chemical and physical stresses. The main advantages of using DNA with classical tracers, like ionic or fluorescent, are the lower detection concentration and the chance to perform multi-tracer tests with many distinct signatures of injection. To the authors’ best knowledge, this is the first tracing adopting nano-particles on full field conditions in a sedimentary fractured aquifer. Preliminary tests in the lab were performed adopting either deionized water or groundwater collected at the experimental site: a set of nanoparticles at a known concentration was dissolved by adding a buffered fluoride solution, and DNA was then quantified by qPCR reaction (SYBR green). The hydrogeological setting is represented by a Miocenic marine arenitic aquifer (Pantano formation) outcropping extensively in Northern Apennines (Italy) and the main groundwater reservoir for public water supply through the uptake of many perennial springs. The main purpose of the tracing was to verify the transmissive capacity of fractures with high aperture (15-20 cm) identified by optical and acoustic televiewers inside an 80 m deep borehole. The injection was performed inside the borehole, and the tracer’s recovery was between 5-15 m, both in the uptake points of two perennial springs and in another borehole drilled nearby.

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Recent advances in groundwater dating provide valuable information about groundwater recharge rates and groundwater velocities that inform groundwater sustainability and management. This talk presents a range of groundwater residence time indicators (85Kr, CFCS 14C, 81Kr, 36Cl and 4 He) combined with analytical and numerical models to unravel sustainability parameters. Our study site is the southwestern Great Artesian Basin of Australia where we study an unconfined confined aquifer system that dates groundwater from modern times up to 400 kyr BP. The study area is arid with a rainfall of <200 mm/yr and evaporation in the order of 3 m/yr. Despite these arid conditions we observe modern recharge rates in the order of 400 mm/yr. This occurs via rapid ephemeral recharge beneath isolated riverbeds where the sandstone aquifer directly outcrops. Groundwater dating and stable isotopes of the water molecule indicates that this recharge comes from monsoonal activity in the north of the continent that travel some 1500 kms. Furthermore, this is restricted to recharge in the Holocene.as we move down the hydraulic gradient groundwater “ages” increase and recharge rates dramatically decrease by orders of magnitude. We conclude that there has been a significant decline in monsoonal precipitation and hence recharge in the deserts of central Australia over this time. We present a couple environmental numerical model that describes how to estimate temporal recharge rates and estimates of hydraulic conductivity from groundwater age data that can be used for groundwater management.

Abstract

The Netherlands produces about 2/3 of drinking water from groundwater. Although there is seemingly abundant groundwater, the resource needs to be carefully managed and used wisely to safeguard the resource for future generations and in case of disasters whilst also preventing negative impacts from groundwater extraction on other sectors such as nature. Provincial governments are responsible for the protection of existing groundwater abstractions for water supply against pollution. To secure groundwater resources for the future, two additional policy levels have been introduced: Provincial governments have been made responsible for mapping and protecting Additional Strategic Reserves. These allow for additional groundwater abstractions to meet growing demands in coming decades (horizon 2040/2050). The National Government is responsible for mapping and protecting the National Groundwater Reserves (NGRs) as a third level of resource protection. NGRs serve multiple goals: to protect natural groundwater capital for future generations, to provide reserves for large-scale disasters affecting water supply and to provide reserves for possible use as structural water supply in the far future (horizon 2100 and beyond). NGRs are being delineated in 3D using detailed existing geological models and the Netherlands’ national (fresh-saline) hydrological model. The dynamics of the groundwater system are analysed through scenario analyses. Reserves for potential structural use are selected such that negative impacts on nature are prevented if future abstractions are to be realised. The policies being developed must balance interests of water supply against other sectoral interests such as the green-energy transition with increased use of geothermal energy and aquifer-thermal-energy-storage.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

Recent findings allow a better insight into the interaction between two aquifers and their vulnerabilities at the groundwater extraction site of Velm, which produces drinking water for around 55,000 households. The shallow aquifer that is exploited is situated in the Formation of Hannut. This aquifer is vulnerable to pollution, especially from the agricultural lands close to the extraction site and is sensitive to natural recharge. In this case, the groundwater is captured in a basin via a naturally occurring spring flow. The second aquifer is situated in the Cretaceous at 50 to 100 m below the surface and is pumped by four wells. The drinking water quality is guaranteed by mixing and treating these two waters. To optimize the central decalcification and the pollution risks, the production volume in the deep aquifer was increased from 2017 to 2021 at the expense of the shallow aquifer. This led to a decrease in the available volumes of the shallow aquifer, which indicated a leakage from the shallow to the deeper aquifer, which was unexpected. Groundwater modelling and time series analysis have been used to assess the impact of the increased production volumes and the longer dry periods. Based on this data, a maximum production volume of 1,000,000 m3 /year is considered best for the cretaceous aquifer. With this extraction rate in the Cretaceous, it is possible to supply sufficient drinking water and limit the impact on the Formation of Hannut.

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Degradation of chloroethene in groundwater primarily occurs via microbially-mediated reductive dechlorination (RD). Anaerobic organohalide-respiring bacteria (OHRB) use chloroethenes as electron acceptors to gain energy. They produce reductive dehalogenase enzymes (RDases) to perform this function by transcription of functional genes into mRNA and translation to proteins (metabolic regulation). However, how hydrodynamics and hydrogeochemistry control the metabolic efficiency of OHRB in biodegrading chloroethene is essential for effective bioremediation design yet an under-investigated topic. For this reason, we implemented a virtual experiment (1D reactive transport model) to investigate the effects of site conditions on transcription-translation and, hence, biodegradation processes within chloroethene plumes. In the model, RD was simulated using Enzyme-Based Kinetics, explicitly mimicking the production of RDases via metabolic regulation, calibrated on microcosm experimental data gained from literature. Features of an actual contaminated site (Grindsted, Denmark) were then used to set up the virtual experiment. Here, chloroethene leaked from a former pharmaceutical factory migrates through a sandy aquifer and gets discharged into the Grindsted stream. Preliminary results show that substrate (electron donors) limiting conditions caused by competing electron acceptors and dispersion and high flow rates represent the key factors controlling biodegradation via RDase production.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

The Kalahari iron manganese field (KIMF) in the Northern Cape, South Africa, was historically exploited by only three mines, with Hotazel the only town and the rest of the area being largely rural, with agricultural stock/ game farming the major activity. Since 2010, mining activities have increased to more than 10 operational mines with increased water demand and environmental impacts on groundwater. The area is within catchments of the Matlhwaring, Moshaweng, Kuruman and Gamogara rivers that drain to the Molopo River in the Northern Cape. All the rivers are non-perennial, with annual flow occurrence in the upstream areas that reach this downstream area once every 10 years. The area is semi-arid, with annual evaporation nearly five times the annual precipitation. The precipitation is less than 300mm, with summer precipitation in the form of thunderstorms. Vegetation is sparse, consisting mainly of grasslands, shrubs and some thorn trees, notably the majestic camel thorns. The Vaal Gamagara Government Water Supply Scheme imports 11 Ml/d or 4Mm3 /a water for mining and domestic purposes in the KIMF section. The area is covered with Kalahari Group formation of 30 to 150 m thick with primary aquifers developed in the basal Wessels gravels and Eden sandstones for local use. The middle Boudin clay forms an aquitard that isolates and reduces recharge. Water levels range from 25 to 70m, and monitoring indicates local dewatering sinks and pollution. This study will report on the water uses, monitoring and observed groundwater impacts within the current climatic conditions.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

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

Abstract

South Africa is known for droughts and their effect on groundwater. Water levels decrease, and some boreholes run dry during low recharge periods. Groundwater level fluctuations result from various factors, and comparing the levels can be challenging if not well understood. Fourie developed the “Groundwater Level Status” approach in 2020 to simplify the analysis of groundwater level fluctuations. Groundwater levels of two boreholes within different hydrogeological settings can thus be compared. The “Status” can now indicate the severity of the drought and thus be used as a possible groundwater restriction level indicator. The reasons for the groundwater level or the primary stress driver can only be determined if the assessment is done on individual boreholes and the boreholes according to hydrogeological characteristics. The analysis is used to identify areas of risk and inform the authorities’ management to make timely decisions to prevent damage or loss of life or livelihoods. The applicability of this approach from a borehole to an aquifer level is showcased through practical examples of the recent droughts that hit South Africa from 2010-2018.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in deep saline aquifers is a viable option for Green House Gas (GHG) mitigation. However, industrial-scale scenarios may induce large-scale reservoir pressurization and displacement of native fluids. Especially in closed systems, the pressure buildup can quickly elevate beyond the reservoir fracture threshold and potentially fracture/ reactivate existing faults on the cap rock. This can create pathways, which could act as conduits for focused leakage of brine and/or CO2 up-dip and mobilization of trace elements into capture zones of freshwater wells. Careful pressure management can ensure the reservoir’s hydraulic integrity. This can theoretically be achieved through simulation with appropriate mathematical tools. This research aims to quantify pressure buildup at a CO2 injection well by applying fractional derivatives to the pressure diffusivity Differential Equation (PDE). A numerical solution has been developed to (1) predict and assess the consequence of pressure buildup within the storage formation on groundwater flow in shallow aquifers and (2) assess the impact of pressure-mobilized contaminants (CO2 , brine and/or trace elements) on the quality of usable groundwater, if there is a leakage. The efficiency of each derivative is shown to depend on the type of reservoir heterogeneity. The Caputo derivative captured the long tail dependence characteristic of fracture flow, while the ABC derivative was able to model the cross-over from matric into the fracture flow. The numerical tools presented here are useful for successful risk assessments during geo-sequestration in basins with freshwater aquifers.

Abstract

Springs are examples of groundwater discharges. This paper reports on findings from cold springs groundwater discharges that have served as important water sources for sustaining domestic and agricultural supply. This study assessed the hydrogeology of springs to inform practical measures for the protection, utilization, and governance of such discharges. The research assessed the hydrogeology of springs in terms of conditions in the subsurface responsible for occurrences of springs spatially and their flow paths to the surface. Spring locations were mapped and validated for spatiotemporal assessment. The study examined the flow dynamics and hydrogeochemistry of spring discharges. In-situ and laboratory measurements of spring discharges were carried out using standard methods. Results showed that shallow and deep circulating systems of springs existed in the study area, being controlled by lithology and faults. All springs had fresh water of Na-Cl type, and rock-water interaction was the dominant geochemical process that influenced spring water chemistry. Radon-222 analysis showed high values detected in spring waters that confirmed recent groundwater seepage on the surface. The drum-and-stopwatch technique was used to estimate yield from spring discharges because it’s only effective and reliable for yields of less than 2 l/s. Results suggest that some springs were locally recharged with some regionally recharged. Based on results from estimated yield and quality, it was concluded that spring waters had low discharges. A comprehensive assessment of spring discharges should be conducted to generate large datasets to inform practical measures for protection, utilization, and governance.