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01.01.2014 | Special Issue | Ausgabe 1/2014

Environmental Earth Sciences 1/2014

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

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 1/2014
Autoren:
María Leal, Javier Lillo, Álvaro Márquez

Abstract

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.

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