Karst Aquifer Recharge: Comments on Somaratne, N. Characteristics of Point Recharge in Karst Aquifers. Water 2014, 6, 2782-2807

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    Abstract

    The article "Characteristics of Point Recharge in Karst Aquifers, Water 6: 2782-2807" by N. Somaratne evaluates various recharge estimation techniques applied to four limestone aquifers in South Australia. Somaratne [1] concludes that methods based on watertable fluctuations, groundwater modelling and water budgets are independent of recharge processes, and are therefore superior to the chloride mass balance (CMB) approach for karst aquifers. The current comment offers alternative interpretations from existing field measurements and previous literature, in particular for the Uley South aquifer, which is the focus of much of the article by Somaratne [1]. Conclusions regarding this system are revised, partly to account for the misrepresentation of previous studies. The aeolianite sediments of Uley South are mostly unconsolidated or poorly consolidated, and dissolution features in the calcrete capping provide point infiltration into a predominantly unconsolidated vadose zone, whereas Somaratne's [1] findings require that the system comprises well-developed conduits in otherwise low-conductivity limestone. Somaratne's [1] assertion that the basic premise of CMB is violated in Uley South is disputable, given strong evidence of relatively well-mixed groundwater arising from mostly diffuse recharge. The characterization of karst aquifer recharge should continue to rely on multiple techniques, including environmental tracers such as chloride.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3727-3738
    Number of pages12
    JournalWater
    Volume6
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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