, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 361-374

Simulation of groundwater flow and environmental effects resulting from pumping

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In coastal lowland plains, increased water demand on a limited water resource has resulted in declining groundwater levels, land subsidence and saltwater encroachment. In southwestern Kyushu, Japan, a sinking of the land surface due to over pumping of groundwater has long been recognized as a problem in the Shiroishi lowland plain. In this paper, an integrated model was established for the Shiroishi site using the modular finite difference groundwater flow model, MODFLOW, by McDonald and Harbaugh (1988) and the modular three-dimensional finite difference groundwater solute transport model, MT3D, by Zheng (1990) to simulate groundwater flow hydraulics, land subsidence, and solute transport in the alluvial lowland plain. Firstly, problems associated with these groundwater resources were discussed and then the established model was applied. The simulated results show that subsidence rapidly occurs throughout the area with the central prone in the center part of the plain. Moreover, seawater intrusion would be expected along the coast if the current rates of groundwater exploitation continue. Sensitivity analysis indicates that certain hydrogeologic parameters such as an inelastic storage coefficient of soil layers significantly contribute effects to both the rate and magnitude of consolidation. Monitoring the present salinization process is useful in determining possible threats to fresh groundwater supplies in the near future. In addition, the integrated numerical model is capable of simulating the regional trend of potentiometric levels, land subsidence and salt concentration. The study also suggests that during years of reduced surface-water availability, reduction of demand, increase in irrigation efficiency and the utilization of water exported from nearby basins are thought to be necessary for future development of the region to alleviate the effects due to pumping.