Inferring the interconnections between surface water bodies, tile-drains and an unconfined aquifer-aquitard system

a case study

N. Colombani, D. Di Giuseppe, B. Faccini, G. Ferretti, M. Mastrocicco*, M. Coltorti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Shallow lenses in reclaimed coastal areas are precious sources of freshwater for crop development, but their seasonal behaviour is seldom known in tile-drained fields. In this study, field monitoring and numerical modelling provide a robust conceptual model of these complex environments. Crop and meteorological data are used to implement an unsaturated flow model to reconstruct daily recharge. Groundwater fluxes and salinity, water table elevation, tile-drains' discharge and salinity are used to calibrate a 2D density-dependent numerical model to quantify non-reactive solute transport within the aquifer-aquitard system. Results suggest that lateral fluxes in low hydraulic conductivity sediments are limited, while water table fluctuation is significant. The use of depth-integrated monitoring to calibrate the model results in poor efficiency, while multi-level soil profiles are crucial to define the mixing zone between fresh and brackish groundwater. Measured fluxes and chloride concentrations from tile-drains not fully compare with calculated ones due to preferential flow through cracks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-95
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume537
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Drainage
  • Groundwater
  • Lowland landscape
  • Modelling
  • Monitoring
  • Salinization

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