Water Resources Management

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 293–308 | Cite as

Basement Groundwater as a Complementary Resource for Overexploited Stream-Connected Alluvial Aquifers

  • Josep Mas-PlaEmail author
  • Anna Menció
  • Albert Marsiñach


The use of groundwater from alluvial aquifers largely affects stream discharge by capturing the stream resources. This affects hydrological processes and riparian biodiversity. In this study, complementary water resources are investigated in an effort to ease human pressure on alluvial systems and, eventually, on stream-aquifer relationships. Discharge and hydrochemical data along a 5 km reach of the Tordera River (NE Spain) provide evidence that groundwater fluxes, associated with a regional hydrogeological system related to the basement fracture network, contribute to alluvial recharge and to stream flow. End-member mixing analysis considering upstream discharge, groundwater flows, and human inputs to the stream as major flow sources shows that regional basement groundwater fluxes are responsible for as much as 20 % of the total discharge, which also explains unexpected rises in stream flow. This suggests a possible new approach to local water resources planning, indicating that conjunctive use might actually be feasible.


Stream-aquifer interaction End-member analysis Mixing Overexploitation 



This study was carried out in the context of project CGL2008-06373-C03-03/BTE funded by the Spanish Government (MEC). It is also related to the tasks of the Observatori de la Tordera, sponsored by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josep Mas-Pla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna Menció
    • 1
  • Albert Marsiñach
    • 2
  1. 1.Grup de Geologia Aplicada i Ambiental (GAiA), Centre de Geologia i Cartografia Ambiental (Geocamb)Universitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA)Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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