A method to estimate aquifer artificial recharge from a hill dam in Tunisia
In arid and semi-arid areas, artificial recharge is a key technology in groundwater resources management, and a reliable estimate of artificial recharge is necessary to its sustainable development. Several methods are available to estimate the artificial recharge; however, most of them require field data or model parameters, thus limiting their applications. To overcome this limitation, we presented an analytical method to estimate the artificial recharge through monitoring the water release by piezometer and analysing the controlling factors of the artificial recharge from a hill dam in Tunisia. A total of 97 measurements of water flow in the streambed recorded from 4 gauging stations were analysed. Results indicated that the average infiltration velocity ranged from 0.043 to 0.127 m/d and the infiltration index varied from 7.6 to 11.8 L/(s•km). Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis shows that the infiltration index, the stream gradient, the thickness of unsaturated zone, the number of infiltration pond, the stream geometry, and the water flow rate were found to be the main factors in determining the infiltration. The high correlation coefficients (0.908 for the number of infiltration pond and 0.999 for the stream geometry) mean that the number of infiltration pond and the stream geometry are the most influential factors. Time variations of groundwater level were used to analyze the recharge effects on the piezometry of aquifer. The analysis showed that during the artificial recharge, the water table increased at a rate of 5 mm/d and that the increase was limited to the area surrounding the recharge site. Based on the results of the study, building infiltration ponds along streambed and improving the potential of rainwater harvesting over the study area are recommended.
Keywordsarid zone water shortage dam water release infiltration index piezometry
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The authors are immensely grateful to the anonymous reviewers and editorial team of the Journal of Arid Land for their comments and suggestions that enhanced the quality of the paper.
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