Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 4303–4315 | Cite as

Simulation of springs discharge from a karstic aquifer (Crete, Greece), using limited data

  • E. Steiakakis
  • D. Vavadakis
  • M. Kritsotakis
Original Article


Five major groups of springs and more than ten pumping wells comprise the main discharge outlets of Agyia karstic aquifer (W. Crete, Greece). The mean annual discharge of the springs is 76 × 106 m3, while 12 × 106 m3 of water are pumped annually from Myloniana and Agyia’s well fields for public water supply and irrigation. The area is almost composed of entirely karstified carbonate rocks (limestones with dolomites), and karstic drainage contributes to infiltration and replenishment of the aquifer. The present work studies the groundwater flow system in the region to investigate the impact of intensive exploitation of the aquifer especially during dry periods (low water table conditions). Due to the lack of sufficient hydrogeologic data, a part of the aquifer extending upwards of Agyia springs was chosen for building the conceptual and numerical model. The groundwater flow was simulated by establishing a reproduction of the measured water heads in the field and the springs discharge. The appropriate set of boundary conditions and the repetition of the model’s verification in different dry periods resulted in a sufficiently reliable model. This can be used as a tool to assess different water resource management options during dry periods, when the demand for water is high.


Karst Springs Numerical modelling Steady state simulation Groundwater management 



The authors wish to thank the Region of Crete (Directorate of Water), DEYACH (Municipal Drinking and Waste Water Services of Chania), YΕΒ (Land Reclamation Service) and OADYK (Organization for the development of Western Crete) for providing the initial data for this research.


  1. Abdulla FA, Al-Khatib MA, Al-Ghazzawi ZD (2000) Development of groundwater modeling for the Azraq Basin. Jordan Environ Geol 40(1–2):11–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson MP, Woessner WW (1992) Applied groundwater modeling: simulation of flow and advective transport. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Andreu JM, Martínez-Santos P, Pulido-Bosch A, García-Sánchez E (2010) Resources assessment of a small karstic mediterranean aquifer (South-Eastern, Spain. Advances in Karst Media, Spain. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-12486-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett ME, Charbeneau RJ (1997) A parsimonious model for simulating flow in a karst aquifer. J Hydrol 196:47–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burdon DJ (1967) Hydrogeology of some karstic areas of Greece, hydrology of fractured rocks. In: Proceedings of the Dubrovnik Symposium October 1965, Pub. 73: Internat Assoc Sci Hydrology, vol 1, pp 308–317Google Scholar
  6. Carter RC, Morgulis ED, Dottridge J, Agbo JU (1994) Groundwater modelling with limited data: a case study in a semi-arid dune field of northeast Nigeria. Q J Eng Geol Hydrogeol 27:S85–S94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Denic-Jukic V, Jukic D (2003) Composite transfer functions for karst aquifers. J Hydrol 274(1):80–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Doummar J, Sauter M, Geyer T (2012) Simulation of flow processes in a large scale karst system with an integrated catchment model (Mike She) - Identification of relevant parameters influencing spring discharge. J Hydrol 426–427:112–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fetter CW (1988) Applied hydrogeology. Columbus, pp 592Google Scholar
  10. Fleury P, Plagnes V, Bakalowicz M (2007) Modelling of the functioning of karst aquifers with a reservoir model: application to Fontaine de Vaucluse (South of France). J Hydrol 345:38–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Froukh LJ (2003) Groundwater modelling in aquifers with highly karstic and heterogeneous characteristics (KHC) in Palestine. Water Resour Manage 16:369–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ghasemizadeh R, Hellweger F, Butscher C, Padilla I, Vesper D, Field M, Alshawabkeh A (2012) Field review: groundwater flow and transport modeling of karst aquifers, with particular reference to the North Coast limestone aquifer system of Puerto Rico. Hydrogeol J 20:1441–1461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Halihan T, Wicks CM (1998) Modeling of storm responses in conduit flow aquifers with reservoirs. J Hydrol 208:82–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hartmann A (2008) Process-based modelling of karst springs in Mt. Hermon, Israel. Diplomarbeit unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. M. Weiler Freiburg im Breisgau. September 2008Google Scholar
  15. Hao Y, Yeh T-CJ, Gao Z, Wang Y, Zhao Y (2006) A gray system model for studying the responses to climatic change: the Liulin karst springs, China. J Hydrol 328:668–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. IGSR (Institute for Geology and Subsurface Research) (1969) Geological map of Greece. Sheet: Alikianou. Scale 1:50,000Google Scholar
  17. Izrar A, Rashid U (2009) Groundwater flow modelling of Yamuna–Krishni interstream, a part of central Ganga Plain Uttar Pradesh. J Earth Syst Sci 118(5):507–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Janža M (2010) Hydrological modeling in the karst area, Rižana spring catchment. Slovenia Environ Earth Sci 61:909–920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kleidopoulou MN (2003) Underground water flow to hydraulic constructions (case study: Infiltration Gallery of Almyros in Iraklio, Crete, Greece). Doctoral Thesis, Technical University of Crete, Department of Mineral Resources Engineering (in Greek)Google Scholar
  20. Labat D, Ababou R, Mangin A (2000) Rainfall-runoff relations for karstic springs. Part I: convolution and spectral analyses. J Hydrol 238:123–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lionis M, Perleros B (2001) Hydrogeological study for Chania area (KA 9481721). Ministry of Agricultural, Directorate of Hydrogeology, Athens (in Greek) Google Scholar
  22. McDonald MG, Harbaugh AW (1988) A modular three dimensional finite-difference ground-water flow model. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 83–875, USGS, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  23. Peterson EW, Wicks CM (2006) Assessing the importance of conduit geometry and physical parameters in karst systems using the storm water management model (SWMM). J Hydrol 329(1–2):294–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rimmer A, Salingar Y (2006) Modelling precipitation-streamflow processes in karst basin: the case of the Jordan River sources, Israel. J Hydrol 331:524–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rozos E, Koutsoyiannis D (2006) A multicell karstic aquifer model with alternative flow equations. J Hydrol 325(1–4):340–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scanlon RB, Mace ER, Barrett ME, Smith B (2003) Can we simulate regional groundwater flow in a karst system using equivalent porous media models? Case study, Barton Springs Edwards aquifer, USA. J Hydrol 276:137–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Steiakakis E, Monopolis D, Vavadakis D, Manutsoglu E (2011) Hydrogeological research in Trypali carbonate Unit (NW Crete), 9th International Hydrogeological Congress. 5–8 October 2011. In: N. Lambrakis et al. (Eds), Advances in the Research of Aquatic Environment, Vol 1. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 561–567 doi:  10.1007/978-3-642-19902-8
  28. Todd DK (1980) Groundwater hydrology, 2nd edn. John Wiley and Sons Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Waterloo Hydrogeologic Inc (2000) Visual ModFlow User’s Manual. OntarioGoogle Scholar
  30. Weiss M, Gvirtzman H (2007) Estimating ground water recharge using flow models of perched karstic aquifers. Ground Water 45(6):761–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhang YK, Bai EW, Libra R, Rowden R, Liu H (1996) Simulation of spring discharge from a limestone aquifer in Iowa, USA. Hydrogeol J 4(4):41–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mineral Resources Engineering, Laboratory of Applied GeologyTechnical University of CreteChaniaGreece
  2. 2.Decentralized Administration of CreteIraklionGreece

Personalised recommendations