Groundwater recharge to a sedimentary aquifer in the topographically closed Uley South Basin, South Australia

Carlos Miraldo Ordens, Adrian Werner, Vincent Post, John Hutson, Craig Simmons, Benjamin Irvine

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The chloride mass balance (CMB) and water-table fluctuation (WTF) analysis methods were used to estimate recharge rates in the Uley South Basin, South Australia. Groundwater hydrochemistry and isotope data were used to infer the nature of recharge pathways and evapotranspiration processes. These data indicate that some combination of two plausible processes is occurring: (1) complete evaporation of rainfall occurs, and the precipitated salts are washed down and redissolved when recharge occurs, and (2) transpiration dominates over evaporation. It is surmised that sinkholes predominantly serve to by-pass the shallow soil zone and redistribute infiltration into the deeper unsaturated zone, rather than transferring rainfall directly to the water table. Chlorofluorocarbon measurements were used in approximating recharge origins to account for coastal proximity effects in the CMB method and pumping seasonality was accounted for in the WTF-based recharge estimates. Best estimates of spatially and temporally averaged recharge rates for the basin are 52-63 and 47-129 mm/year from the CMB and WTF analyses, respectively. Adaptations of both the CMB and WTF analyses to account for nuances of the system were necessary, demonstrating the need for careful application of these methods.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-72
    Number of pages12
    JournalHydrogeology Journal
    Volume20
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

    Keywords

    • Australia
    • CFC
    • Chloride mass balance
    • Groundwater recharge
    • Water-table fluctuation

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