Advertisement

Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 443–452 | Cite as

Recharge and discharge controls on groundwater travel times and flow paths to production wells for the Ammer catchment in southwestern Germany

  • B. SelleEmail author
  • K. Rink
  • O. Kolditz
Special Issue

Abstract

Travel times and flow paths of groundwater from its recharge area to drinking-water production wells will govern how the quality of pumped groundwater responds to contaminations. Here, we studied the 180 km2 Ammer catchment in southwestern Germany, which is extensively used for groundwater production from a carbonate aquifer. Using a 3-D steady-state groundwater model, four alternative representations of discharge and recharge were systematically explored to understand their impact on groundwater travel times and flow paths. More specifically, two recharge maps obtained from different German hydrologic atlases and two plausible alternative discharge scenarios were tested: (1) groundwater flow across the entire streambed of the Ammer River and its main tributaries and (2) groundwater discharge via a few major springs feeding the Ammer River. For each of these scenarios, the groundwater model was first calibrated against water levels, and subsequently travel times and flow paths were calculated for production wells using particle tracking methods. These computed travel times and flow paths were indirectly evaluated using additional data from the wells including measured concentrations of major ions and environmental tracers indicating groundwater age. Different recharge scenarios resulted in a comparable fit to observed water levels, and similar estimates of hydraulic conductivities, flow paths and travel times of groundwater to production wells. Travel times calculated for all scenarios had a plausible order of magnitude which were comparable to apparent groundwater ages modelled using environmental tracers. Scenario with groundwater discharge across the entire streambed of the Ammer River and its tributaries resulted in a better fit to water levels than scenario with discharge at a few springs only. In spite of the poorer fit to water levels, flow paths of groundwater from the latter scenario were more plausible, and these were supported by the observed major ion chemistry at the production wells. We concluded that data commonly used in groundwater modelling such as water levels and apparent groundwater ages may be insufficient to reliably delineate capture zones of wells. Hydrogeochemical information relating only indirectly to groundwater flow such as the major ion chemistry of water sampled at the wells can substantially improve our understanding of the source areas of recharge for production wells.

Keywords

WESS Water Earth System Science OpenGeoSys OGS 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg (AZ Zu 33-721.3-2) and the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, Leipzig (UFZ). We would like to thank Dr. Marc Schwientek and Dr. Karsten Osenbrück (Water & Earth System Science), Bernhard Keim (engineering company kup), Andreas Steinacker (consulting company BGU) and Inge Neeb (city council of Sindelfingen) for technical discussions. We also thank the Ammertal-Schönbuchgruppe (local water supplier) for providing data, Igor Pavlovskiy for providing Fig. 5 and analysing water quality data using PHREEQC and Dr. Wenqing Wang and Dr. Jens-Olaf Delfs for OGS support. We are grateful for the detailed comments provided by 3 reviewers based on which the manuscript could be significantly improved.

References

  1. Alley WM, Healy RW, LaBaugh JW, Reilly TE (2002) Flow and storage in groundwater systems. Science 296:1985–1990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Armbruster V, Leibundgut C (2001) Method for spatially distributed modelling of evapotranspiration and fast runoff components to describe large-scale groundwater recharge. IAHS Publ 269:3–10Google Scholar
  3. Barthel R, Jagelke K, Götzinger J, Gaiser T, Printz A (2008) Aspects of choosing appropriate concepts for modeling groundwater resources in regional integrated water resources management—examples from the Neckar (Germany) and Oueme catchment (Benin). Phys Chem Earth 33:92–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauer S, Liedl R, Sauter M (2003) Modeling of karst aquifer genesis: influence of exchange flow. Water Resour Res 39(10):WR002218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chiang WH (2005) 3D-groundwater modeling with PMWIN. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Doherty J (2004) PEST: model independent parameter estimation. Watermark Numerical Computing, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  7. Githui F, Selle B, Thayalakumaran T (2012) Recharge estimation using remotely sensed evapotranspiration in an irrigated catchment in southeast Australia. Hydrol Process 26:1379–1389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gleeson T, Novakowski K, Cook PG, Kyser TK (2009) Constraining groundwater discharge in a large watershed: integrated isotopic, hydraulic, and thermal data from the Canadian shield. Water Resour Res 45(8):W08402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gräbe A, Rink K, Fischer T, Sun F, Wang W, Rödiger T, Siebert C, Kolditz O (2013) Numerical analysis of the groundwater regime in the western dead sea escarpment. Environ Earth Sci. doi: 10.1007/s12665-012-1795-8
  10. Grathwohl P, Rügner H, Wöhling T, Osenbrück K, Schwientek M, Gayler S, Wollschläger U, Selle B, Pause M, Delfs J-O, Grzeschik M, Weller U, Ivanov M, Cirpka OA, Maier U, Kuch B, Nowak W, Wulfmeyer V, Warrach-Sagi K, Streck T, Attinger S, Bilke L, Dietrich P, Fleckenstein JH, Kalbacher T, Kolditz O, Rink K, Samaniego L, Vogel H-J, Werban U, Teutsch G (2013) Catchments as reactors—a comprehensive approach for water fluxes and solute turn-over. Environ Earth Sci 69(2). doi: 10.1007/s12665-013-2281-7
  11. Guadagnini A, Franzetti S (1999) Time-related capture zones for contaminants in randomly heterogeneous formations. Ground Water 37(2):253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. HAD (2012) Hydrologischer Atlas von Deutschland. http://www.hydrology.uni-freiburg.de/forsch/had/. Accessed 26 July 2012
  13. Harrar WG, Sonnenborg TO, Henriksen HJ (2003) Capture zone, travel time, and solute-transport predictions using inverse modeling and different geological models. Hydrogeol J 11(5):536–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harress HM (1973) Hydrogeologische Untersuchungen im Oberen Gäu. Dissertation, University of Tübingen, TübingenGoogle Scholar
  15. Hydroisotop (2004) Ergebnisse der hydrochemischen und isotopenhydrologischen Bestandsaufnahme im Gebiet Ammertal-Rottenburg. Hydroisotop, SchweitenkirchenGoogle Scholar
  16. Kolditz O, Bauer S, Bilke L, Böttcher N, Delfs JO, Fischer T, Görke UJ, Kalbacher T, Kosakowski G, McDermott CI, Park CH, Radu F, Rink K, Shao H, Shao HB, Sun F, Sun YY, Singh AK, Taron J, Walther M, Wang W, Watanabe N, Wu Y, Xie M, Xu W, Zehner B (2012) OpenGeoSys: an open-source initiative for numerical simulation of thermo-hydro-mechanical/chemical (THM/C) processes in porous media, Environ Earth Sci 67:589–599. doi: 10.1007/s12665-012-1546-x Google Scholar
  17. Landesamt für Umweltschutz Baden-Württemberg (2002) Fortschreibung Hydrogeologische Karte und regionales Grundwassermodell “Heilbronner Mulde”. Landesamt für Umweltschutz Baden-Württemberg, KarlsruheGoogle Scholar
  18. Małoszewski P, Zuber A (1982) Determining the turnover time of groundwater systems with the aid of environmental tracers. 1. Models and their applicability. J Hydrol 57:207–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Panagopoulos G (2012) Application of MODFLOW for simulating groundwater flow in the Trifilia karst aquifer, Greece. Environ Earth Sci 67:1877–1889. doi: 10.1007/s12665-012-1630-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Parkhurst DL, Appelo CAJ (1999) User’s guide to PHREEQC (Version 2)—a computer program for speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations. USGS, RestonGoogle Scholar
  21. Plümacher J (1999) Kalibrierung eines regionalen Grundwasserströmungsmodells mit Hilfe von Umwetltisotopeninformation. Dissertation, ETH Zürich, ZurichGoogle Scholar
  22. Praamsma T, Novakowski K, Kyser K, Hall K (2009) Using stable isotopes and hydraulic head data to investigate groundwater recharge and discharge in a fractured rock aquifer. J Hydrol 366(1–4):35–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Refsgaard JC (2011) Review of strategies for handling geological uncertainty in groundwater flow and transport modeling. Adv Water Resour 36:36–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Reuther CD (1973) Zur Schichtlagerung und Tektonik im Oberen Gäu. Master thesis, University of Tübingen, TübingenGoogle Scholar
  25. Rink K, Kalbacher T, Kolditz O (2012) Visual data management for hydrological analysis. Environ Earth Sci 65(5):1395–1403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rink K, Fischer T, Selle B, Kolditz O (2013) A data exploration framework for validation and setup of hydrological models. Environ Earth Sci. doi: 10.1007/s12665-012-2030-3
  27. Sauter M, Kovács A, Geyer T, Teutsch G (2006) Modellierung der Hydrodynamik von Karstgrundwasserleitern—Eine Übersicht. Grundwasser 11(3):143–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schwientek M, Osenbrück K, Fleischer M (2013) Investigating hydrological drivers of nitrate export dynamics in two agricultural catchments in Germany using high-frequency data series. Environ Earth Sci. doi: 10.1007/s12665-013-2322-2
  29. Sun F, Shao H, Kalbacher T, Wang W, Yang Z, Huang Z, Kolditz O (2012) Groundwater drawdown at Nankou site of Beijing plain: model development and calibration. Environ Earth Sci 64(5):1323–1333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Villinger E (1982) Grundwasserbilanzen im Karstaquifer des Oberen Muschelkalks im Oberen Gäu (Baden-Württemberg). Geologisches Jahrb: Reihe C 32:43–61Google Scholar
  31. WaBoA (2001) Wasser- und Bodenatlas Baden-Württemberg. http://www.hydrology.uni-freiburg.de/forsch/waboa/. Accessed 26 July 2012
  32. Ye M, Pohlmann KF, Chapman JB, Pohll GM, Reeves DM (2010) Model-Averaging Method for Assessing Groundwater Conceptual Model Uncertainty. Ground Water 48(5):716–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zanini L, Novakowski KS, Lapcevie P, Bickerton GS, Voralek J, Talbot C (2000) Ground water flow in a fractured carbonate aquifer inferred from combined hydrogeological and geochemical measurements. Ground Water 38(3):350–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Water and Earth System Science (WESS) Competence Clusterc/o University of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Environmental InformaticsHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Applied Environmental Systems AnalysisTU DresdenDresdenGermany

Personalised recommendations