Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.advwatres.2017.02.010
Title (Primary) Improving large-scale groundwater models by considering fossil gradients
Author Schulz, S.; Walther, M.; Michelsen, N.; Rausch, R.; Dirks, H.; Al-Saud, M.; Merz, R.; Kolditz, O. ORCID logo ; Schüth, C.
Source Titel Advances in Water Resources
Year 2017
Volume 103
Page From 32
Page To 43
Language englisch
UFZ wide themes RU2
Abstract Due to limited availability of surface water, many arid to semi-arid countries rely on their groundwater resources. Despite the quasi-absence of present day replenishment, some of these groundwater bodies contain large amounts of water, which was recharged during pluvial periods of the Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene. These mostly fossil, non-renewable resources require different management schemes compared to those which are usually applied in renewable systems. Fossil groundwater is a finite resource and its withdrawal implies mining of aquifer storage reserves. Although they receive almost no recharge, some of them show notable hydraulic gradients and a flow towards their discharge areas, even without pumping. As a result, these systems have more discharge than recharge and hence are not in steady state, which makes their modelling, in particular the calibration, very challenging. In this study, we introduce a new calibration approach, composed of four steps: (i) estimating the fossil discharge component, (ii) determining the origin of fossil discharge, (iii) fitting the hydraulic conductivity with a pseudo steady-state model, and (iv) fitting the storage capacity with a transient model by reconstructing head drawdown induced by pumping activities. Finally, we test the relevance of our approach and evaluated the effect of considering or ignoring fossil gradients on aquifer parameterization for the Upper Mega Aquifer (UMA) on the Arabian Peninsula.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Schulz, S., Walther, M., Michelsen, N., Rausch, R., Dirks, H., Al-Saud, M., Merz, R., Kolditz, O., Schüth, C. (2017):
Improving large-scale groundwater models by considering fossil gradients
Adv. Water Resour. 103 , 32 - 43 10.1016/j.advwatres.2017.02.010