Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 1389–1408 | Cite as

Regional recharge estimation using multiple methods: an application in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia (Canada)

  • Christine Rivard
  • René Lefebvre
  • Daniel Paradis
Original Article


Recharge is a key parameter in groundwater resources management, and a reliable estimate of recharge is required for their sustainable development. Several methods are available to evaluate recharge; however, selecting the appropriate one is made difficult because each method has its advantages and drawbacks, and results can vary greatly from one method to another. Recharge methods can actually refer to different processes. This paper compares and discusses the results obtained from five regional-scale recharge assessment approaches applied to a fractured rock aquifer in a region with a temperate and humid climate (Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada). These methods are distinguished between those providing estimates of the net infiltration (I) into the subsurface (river hydrograph separation and soil moisture balance) from those considering the net recharge (W) to the regional bedrock aquifer (river 7-day low-flows, the corrected soil moisture balance, a numerical groundwater flow model developed with FEFLOW and an infiltration model developed with HELP). The estimated net infiltration ranges from 160 to 250 mm/year, whereas the net recharge estimates range from 80 to 175 mm/year for the entire study area. Although different assessment methods were used, the estimated recharge range is still quite large, demonstrating the importance of using several methods. This case study should provide guidance on choices to be made in the development of a strategy for assessing representative values of aquifer recharge at the regional scale under similar geological and climatic conditions. The use of multiple complementary approaches should lead to a better understanding of the system dynamics and to better defined a representative range of recharge estimates.


Regional hydrogeology Aquifer recharge River hydrographs Water balance Groundwater flow numerical modeling Infiltration model Annapolis Valley 



This multi-agency project was mainly funded through the Groundwater Program of the Geological Survey of Canada. This project also received support from Nova Scotia Environment (NSE), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), and the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP). Many thanks go to Mr. John Drage of the NSE and Dr. Roger Morin of USGS for their contribution to the regional project. Special thanks also go to Dr. Marie Larocque of UQAM and Dr. Andrew Piggott of Environment Canada for fruitful discussions on baseflow estimation. This paper is GSC contribution No. 20100141.


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Copyright information

© © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2013 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Rivard
    • 1
  • René Lefebvre
    • 2
  • Daniel Paradis
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Survey of CanadaQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS)Centre Eau Terre EnvironnementQuebecCanada

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