Groundwater Quality and Quantity in a Coastal Aquifer Under High Human Pressure: Understand the Aquifer Functioning and the Social Perception of Water Use for a Better Water Management. Example of Recife (PE, Brazil)
Abstract:The Recife Metropolitan Region is a typical "hot spot" illustrating the problems of southern countries on water issues inducing high pressures on water resources both on quantity and quality in the context of global social and environmental changes. This study is based on an interdisciplinary approach, coupling “hard” geosciences together with “soft” social sciences with the aim to study the human impact on coastal aquifers in a context of overexploitation to improve the existing water management tools.
By revisiting the geological and hydrogeological conceptual models, field campaigns of groundwater and surface water sampling and analysis, and of interviews of different actors on the theme of water supply and management in Recife Metropolitan Region, the main results can be summarized as follows: (1) The recharge of the deep strategic confined aquifers is very limited resulting in water level decrease (up to -90m in 25y) due to overexploitation. (2) Groundwater residence time in these deep aquifers is over 10,000 years. (3) The natural upward flux of these confined aquifers is observed inland, but is reversed in the heavily populated areas along the coast leading to mixing with modern groundwater coming from the shallow aquifers. (4) Groundwater salinization is inherited from the Pleistocene marine transgression, only partly diluted by the recharge through the mangroves during the subsequent regression phase. Today, leakage from surficial aquifers induces local salinization. (5) Local climatic scenarios predict a reduction of rainfall volume of 20% together with an increase of sea level (18-59cm by 2100). (5) The Public authorities tend to deny the difficulties that people, especially those in precarious situation, are confronted with regarding water, especially in times of drought.
The COQUEIRAL research project is financially supported by ANR (ANR-11-CEPL-012); FACEPE (APQ-0077-3.07/11); FAPESP (2011/50553-0