Journal article Open Access

Monitoring and modeling infiltration–recharge dynamics of managed aquifer recharge with desalinated seawater

Ganot, Y.; Ganot, Y.; Holtzman, R.; Weisbrod, N.; Nitzan, I.; Katz, Y.; Kurtzman, D.


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    <subfield code="a">We study the relation between surface infiltration and groundwater
recharge during managed aquifer recharge (MAR) with desalinated seawater in
an infiltration pond, at the Menashe site that overlies the northern part of
the Israeli Coastal Aquifer. We monitor infiltration dynamics at multiple
scales (up to the scale of the entire pond) by measuring the ponding depth,
sediment water content and groundwater levels, using pressure sensors,
single-ring infiltrometers, soil sensors, and observation wells. During a
month (January 2015) of continuous intensive MAR
(2.45  ×  10&lt;sup&gt;6&lt;/sup&gt; m&lt;sup&gt;3&lt;/sup&gt; discharged to a 10.7 ha area),
groundwater level has risen by 17 m attaining full connection with the pond,
while average infiltration rates declined by almost 2 orders of magnitude
(from  ∼  11 to  ∼  0.4 m d&lt;sup&gt;−1&lt;/sup&gt;). This reduction can be
explained solely by the lithology of the unsaturated zone that includes
relatively low-permeability sediments. Clogging processes at the pond-surface
– abundant in many MAR operations – are negated by the high-quality
desalinated seawater (turbidity  ∼  0.2 NTU, total dissolved solids
 ∼  120 mg L&lt;sup&gt;−1&lt;/sup&gt;) or negligible compared to the low-permeability
layers. Recharge during infiltration was estimated reasonably well by simple
analytical models, whereas a numerical model was used for estimating
groundwater recharge after the end of infiltration. It was found that a
calibrated numerical model with a one-dimensional representative sediment
profile is able to capture MAR dynamics, including temporal reduction of
infiltration rates, drainage and groundwater recharge. Measured infiltration
rates of an independent MAR event (January 2016) fitted well to those
calculated by the calibrated numerical model, showing the model validity. The
successful quantification methodologies of the temporal groundwater recharge
are useful for MAR practitioners and can serve as an input for groundwater
flow models.</subfield>
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