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01-06-2015 | Thematic Issue | Issue 12/2015

Environmental Earth Sciences 12/2015

Advanced aquifer characterization for optimization of managed aquifer recharge

Journal:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Issue 12/2015
Authors:
Robert G. Maliva, Rolf Herrmann, Kapo Coulibaly, Weixing Guo

Abstract

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) will play an increasingly important role in solving water scarcity. The performance of MAR systems depends primarily upon local hydrogeology. Greatest opportunities for improvement in the implementation of MAR systems lie in the targeted application of conventional and advanced technologies to improve aquifer characterization. Surface geophysics (e.g., VES, TDEM, and seismic reflection and refraction) generally provide low resolution, but areal extensive data on subsurface hydrogeology. Times series of relative microgravity measurements have been used to map changes in both vadose and phreatic zone storage and to augment monitoring well systems. Surface nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has the potential to provide quantitative data on water-filled porosity and pore size distribution and, in turn, an estimate of hydraulic conductivity. Standard borehole geophysical logging techniques can provide coarse-scale data on aquifer heterogeneity. Advanced borehole logging techniques, such as NMR, microresistivity imaging, and gamma ray spectroscopy, have been used in MAR projects in the USA and UAE to provide fine-scale petrophysical data (e.g., porosity, porosity-types, and pore-size distribution). Groundwater modeling is used in MAR investigations to evaluate system feasibility and to optimize system design and operation. Opportunities to improve groundwater modeling exist through the application of advanced reservoir simulation platforms that allow for the processing and integration of available lithological, geophysical, and aquifer testing data and their subsequent incorporation into groundwater flow models. Advanced groundwater modeling programs are available that allow for the simulation of complex aquifers such as dual-porosity systems and variable density.

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