Groundwater Mounding in Non-uniform Aquifers with Implications for Managed Aquifer Recharge
Abstract:Many areas of the world (e.g. the Middle East and North Africa countries) are deficient in observation networks and hydrogeological data needed for Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) design. Therefore, diagnostic analytical approaches are appropriate for feasibility studies of MAR. It was found that the common assumption of aquifer thickness uniformity often does not hold, especially in mountainous watersheds. However, the only practical result available for non-uniform aquifers was developed for well hydraulics applications (point sinks or sources) by Hantush (1962), while the recharge zones may cover large areas on the scale of kilometers, such as temporarily filled impoundments (natural and engineered reservoirs in wadis, depressions, trenches, etc.) or perennial streams accepting massive treated wastewater discharge.
To address these important, but overlooked MAR problems in sloping aquifers, a set of new closed-form analytical solutions for water table elevations were obtained. Interestingly, the 2D groundwater flow equation acquires the advection-dispersion equation form in these cases. The quadratures in closed-form solutions obtained by the Green’s function method converge rapidly. These models account for both shapes and orientations of sources with respect to the direction of the aquifer base gradient. Qualitatively, solutions in sloping aquifers have an important trait: the mounding is limited in time and space, unlike in aquifers with a horizontal base. Aquifers with the greater slopes have the lesser potential of waterlogging from the rising water table and different storage characteristics (height and volume of locally stored water). Computational aspects of these solutions for MAR analyses are illustrated by example utilizing regional aquifer properties near Az Zarqa River, Jordan. (This study was supported by a grant from USAID-FABRI, project contract: AID-OAA-TO-11-00049, Subcontract: 1001624 –12S-19745).