Heavy rainfall and slow movement of the cyclone Tamara caused record floods in May 2014 across Serbia. As a result, levees were breached, a large portion of the open-pit lignite mine Tamnava–West Field was flooded and a flood lake was created. Due to an active hydraulic link with aquifers, the water table rose and the amount of stored groundwater increased dramatically. Based on in situ surveys and hydrodynamic modeling, three distinct periods of the groundwater regime are identified and the flood impact on the groundwater regime in the study area quantified. The paper describes correlations between flood lake water levels and the water table, and shows calculated groundwater volumes as a result of flooding and those of residual groundwater after dewatering of the open-pit mine. This extreme historical flood in Serbia had disastrous economic and social consequences, given that the studied open-pit mine supports more than 25% of Serbia’s electric power output. The assessment of the flood wave and its impact on the groundwater regime is an important example of the groundwater system response to an extreme rainfall and flood event. The paper presents the operating algorithm which leads to the approach of assessing the impact of floods on increasing the volume of accumulated groundwater. The paper presents a developed methodology for groundwater level status exploration in the wider area of open-pit mine Tamnava-West Field during the flooding that occurred in this mine. The developed method encompasses the creation and calibration of a groundwater model and fate and transport model for groundwater state prior to the flooding, a verification model for groundwater level during the extreme floods and a control verification model which corresponds to the period after the passing of the flood wave. The applied operational algorithm offers reliable bases for adopting a strategy for groundwater management during floods.
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