Hydrogeology in The Semi-Arid South-West of Madagascar – a Multi-Scale Approach

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Andreas Englert1, Linda Dworak1, Jean Rasoloariniaina2, Katja Brinkmann3, Susanne Kobbe4 and Andreas Buerkert3, (1)Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany, (2)University of Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar, (3)University Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany, (4)University Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
The project „Sustainable Land Management“ (SuLaMa) aims at the participatory development and implementation of alternative land-use management practices to protect the ecosystem and its biodiversity and improve the livelihood of the local population in a sustainable manner. One critical aspect within this project is the availability of sustainable water resources. To approach reliable estimates about the availability and dynamics of the water resources, we started a study to understand in detail the hydrogeology of the South-West of Madagascar. As this area has an extend of about 40000 square kilometers, the study is based on a multi-scale approach. Rough large scale estimates are utilized to develop a general understanding of the hydrogeology in the South-West of Madagascar, which allows for large scale estimates of hydrogeology under changing boundary conditions like climate change. Detailed investigations at target villages of the SuLaMa project, combined with boundary conditions derived from the large scale hydrogeological model, allows for estimates of the local hydrogeology under changing boundary conditions like enhanced water abstraction.

Although several governmental and nongovernmental institutions have been working on the water resources of the South-West of Madagascar in the past, only few sources on the hydrogeology of this area can be found in literature. To improve the data base we installed five automatic loggers in the area to measure groundwater levels as function of time and investigated in detail about one hundred wells in terms of geometry, groundwater level, electrical conductivity and pH.

First preliminary results of the study show that the hydrogeology in the study area is dominated by four major hydrogeological units (fractured crystalline basement, karstic plateau, porous perched aquifers and a porous coastal area) and can be analyzed effectively by assuming a radial symmetric geometry. Ongoing efforts are the development of a model for a spatially variable groundwater recharge estimates and advanced hydrogeological models. The latter consisting of high resolution small scale and low resolution large scale estimates. Based on these models, we will develop numerical flow models to evaluate water resources as function of changing boundary conditions at multiple scales.