A Review of the Recharge-Discharge Function of Wetlands

  • D. I. Siegel


The recharge-discharge function is an important but complicated part of wetland hydrology (Adamus and Stockwell, 1983). Groundwater discharge can maintain a high water table in wetlands, whereas recharge to the underlying aquifers can replenish groundwater supplies. However, the methods previously employed to determine ground-water flow in wetlands by indirect estimation are inadequate. The inherent error involved in measuring the various factors in a water budget is so high that the volume of groundwater flux cannot be accurately determined indirectly as a residual (Winter, 1981). ‘Average’ gradients on the water table often cannot be used to determine the major directions of ground-water flow because of the build-up of transient water-table mounds which temporarily reverse flow directions at wetland margins (Anderson and Munter, 1981; Winter, 1983). Most recent advances in understanding the recharge-discharge functions of wetlands have been obtained by using the hydrogeologic systems approach of groundwater study to wetland environments.


Mineral Soil Groundwater Discharge Glacial Lake Beach Ridge Regional Flow System 
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© Donal D. Hook 1988

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  • D. I. Siegel

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