Analytical Analyses of Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of Infiltrated Water for Managed Aquifer Recharge

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Vitaly A Zlotnik1, Glenn Ledder1 and Anvar Kacimov2, (1)Univ. Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States, (2)Sultan Qaboos University, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Al-Khod 123, Oman
Disposal of excessive runoff or treated sewage into wadis and ephemeral streams is a common practice and an important hydrological problem in many Middle Eastern countries. While chemical and biological properties of the injected treated wastewater may be different from those of the receiving aquifer, the density contrast between the two fluids can be small. Therefore, studies of the fluid interface for variable density fluids or water intrusion are not directly relevant in many Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) problems. Other factors, such as the transient nature of injection and lack of detailed aquifer information must be considered. The disposed water reaching the water table through the vadose zone creates groundwater mounds, deforms the original water table, and develops finite-size convex-concave lenses of treated water over receiving water. After cessation of infiltration, these mounds flatten, water levels become horizontal, and infiltrated water becomes fully embedded in the receiving aquifer. The shape of the treated water body is controlled by the aquifer parameters, the magnitude of ambient flow, and the duration, rate, and cyclicity of infiltration. In case of limited aquifer data, advective transport modeling offers the most appropriate tools for predicting plume shapes over time, but surprisingly little work has been done on this important 3D flow problem. We investigate the lateral and vertical spreading of infiltrated water combining techniques of spatial velocity analyses by Zlotnik and Ledder (1992, 1993) with particle tracking. This approach allows for evaluating the geometry of the plume and the protection zone, the flow development phases, and other temporal and spatial effects and results can be used in conditions of limited data availability and quality. (Funding was provided by the USAID, DAI Subcontract 1001624-12S-19745)