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Water 2016, 8(5), 171; doi:10.3390/w8050171

Climate Variability and Groundwater Response: A Case Study in Burkina Faso (West Africa)

1
International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering, Rue de la science, 01 BP 594 Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso
2
Metis, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS, EPHE, Sorbonne Universités, 4 place Jussieu, Paris 75005, France
3
Laboratoire d’hydrogéologie, UFR SVT, Université de Ouagadougou, 03 BP 7021 Ouagadougou 03, Burkina Faso
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 21 February 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 27 April 2016
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Abstract

West Africa experiences great climate variability, as shown by the long-lasting drought since the 1970s. The impacts of the drought on surface water resources are well documented but remain less studied regarding groundwater resources. The nexus between climate variability and groundwater level fluctuations is poorly documented in this area. The present study focuses on the large reserve of groundwater held by the Kou catchment, a tributary of Mouhoun river (formerly the Black Volta) in the southwest of Burkina Faso, in the Sudanian region. Analyses were undertaken using climatic time series (1961–2014), two rivers’ hydrometric data (1961–2014), and 21 piezometers’ time series (1995–2014) applying statistical trend (Mann–Kendall) and break (Pettitt) tests, correlation analysis, and principal component analysis. The analyses showed that rainfall in the area underwent a significant break in 1970 with an 11%–16% deficit between the period before the break and the period after the break that resulted in a deficit three times greater for both surface and base flows. This significant deficit in flow results from the combined effect of a decrease in rainfall and an increase in evapotranspiration. The response of the catchment to the slight increase in rainfall after 1990 was highly dependent on hydrological processes. At Samendéni, on the Mouhoun River, the flow increased with a slight delay as compared to rainfall, because of the slow response of the base flow. Whereas at Nasso on the Kou river, the flow steadily decreased. The analysis showed that the groundwater level responds to rainfall with a delay. Its response time to seasonal fluctuations ranges from 1 to 4 months and its response time to interannual variations exceeds the timescale of one year. This response is highly dependent on the local aquifer’s physical characteristics, which could explain the spatial heterogeneity of the groundwater response. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate variability; base flow; groundwater; response; West Africa; Burkina Faso climate variability; base flow; groundwater; response; West Africa; Burkina Faso
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tirogo, J.; Jost, A.; Biaou, A.; Valdes-Lao, D.; Koussoubé, Y.; Ribstein, P. Climate Variability and Groundwater Response: A Case Study in Burkina Faso (West Africa). Water 2016, 8, 171.

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