The potential of karst aquifers as a drinking water resource is substantial because of their large storage capacity gained in the course of carbonate dissolution. Carbonate dissolution and consequent development of preferential paths are also the reasons for the complex behavior of these aquifers as regards surface and underground flow. Hydrological modeling is therefore of paramount importance for an adequate assessment of flow components in catchments shaped on karsts. The cross tabulation of such components with geology, soils, and land use data in Geographic Information Systems helps decision makers to set up sustainable groundwater abstractions and allocate areas for storage of quality surface water, in the context of conjunctive water resources management. In the present study, a hydrologic modeling using the JAMS J2000 software was conducted in a karst area of Jequitiba River basin located near the Sete Lagoas town in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The results revealed a very high surface water component explained by urbanization of Sete Lagoas, which hampers the recharge of 7.9 hm3
of storm water. They also exposed a very large negative difference (−8.3 hm3
) between groundwater availability (6.3 hm3
) and current groundwater abstraction from the karst aquifer (14.6 hm3
), which is in keeping with previously reported water table declines around drilled wells that can reach 48 m in old wells used for public water supply. Artificial recharge of excess surface flow is not recommended within the urban areas, given the high risk of groundwater contamination with metals and hydrocarbons potentially transported in storm water, as well as development of suffosional sinkholes as a consequence of concentrated storm flow. The surface component could however be stored in small dams in forested areas from the catchment headwaters and diverted to the urban area to complement the drinking water supply. The percolation in soil was estimated to be high in areas used for agriculture and pastures. The implementation of correct fertilizing, management, and irrigation practices are considered crucial to attenuate potential contamination of groundwater and suffosional sinkhole development in these areas.
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