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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 9
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 4479–4493, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-4479-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 4479–4493, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-4479-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 08 Sep 2017

Research article | 08 Sep 2017

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

Yonatan Ganot1,2, Ran Holtzman2, Noam Weisbrod3, Ido Nitzan1, Yoram Katz4, and Daniel Kurtzman1 Yonatan Ganot et al.
  • 1Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, The Volcani Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel
  • 2Department of Soil and Water Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel
  • 3Department of Environmental Hydrology & Microbiology, Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, 8499000, Israel
  • 4Mekorot, Water Company Ltd, Tel Aviv, 6713402, Israel

Abstract. 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  ×  106 m3 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−1). 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−1) 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.

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We monitor infiltration at multiple scales during managed aquifer recharge with desalinated seawater in an infiltration pond, while groundwater recharge is evaluated by simplified and numerical models. We found that pond-surface clogging is negated by the high-quality desalinated seawater or negligible compared to the low-permeability layers of the unsaturated zone. We show that a numerical model with a 1-D representative sediment profile is able to capture infiltration and recharge dynamics.
We monitor infiltration at multiple scales during managed aquifer recharge with desalinated...
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