Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 23–30 | Cite as

Assessment of groundwater circulation in La Gomera aquifers (Canary Islands, Spain) from their hydrochemical features

  • María LealEmail author
  • Javier Lillo
  • Álvaro Márquez
Special Issue


La Gomera (Canary Islands, Spain) does not show water scarcity like other islands of the Archipelago. However, the study of its aquifers is paramount as nearly 60 % of the water supplies are covered with spring water. According to the currently accepted hydrogeological model, La Gomera presents an upper aquifer consisting of perched groundwater bodies. Below this hydrogeological unit, the General Saturated Zone or basal groundwater is placed. The model also establishes the presence of flows through them. Many perched groundwater bodies are located under Garajonay National Park where most of the springs are found. Therefore, if upper and lower aquifers are truly connected and new wells are built, the new extractions could affect Garajonay ecosystems. With the aim of identifying spring groups and related potential areas of water transfer, hydrochemical and statistical analyses (principal component analysis and cluster analysis) have been applied. This study shows the great compositional variability of groundwaters, precluding the identification of spring groups, hydrochemical patterns and, therefore, the transfer areas with no possibility of assessing the potential impact of a water demand increase on the Garajonay National Park ecosystems from the present data. Only the springs belonging to group II of the cluster analysis could indicate a transfer area. The lack of conclusive results could be due to: (1) great compositional variability of volcanic materials; (2) unequal influence of marine aerosols; (3) irregular distribution of rainfall; (4) different grades of soils development; and (5) the occurrence of partially disconnected water bodies giving as a result a complex hydrogeological system.


Hydrogeology Hydrochemistry La Gomera Cluster analysis Principal component analysis 



The authors wish to thank the contribution of Tatiana Izquierdo Labraca and Raquel Herrera Espada (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos) and the support of the Postgraduate Program of Hydrology and Water Resource Management (Universidad de Alcalá de Henares and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos). The authors are also grateful to an anonymous reviewer for the comments which have improved the quality of the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and GeologyUniversity Rey Juan Carlos, ESCETMóstolesSpain
  2. 2.IMDEA Water FoundationAlcalá de HenaresSpain

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