A flow regime is influenced by the degree of hydrologic connection between surface water and groundwater. As this connection becomes more transient and the basin’s runoff response more non-linear, such as for intermittent streams, the need for explicit representation of the groundwater component increases. The present study investigates the connection between Northern Etna groundwater system and the Alcantara river basin in Sicily (Italy). In particular, the upstream part of the basin, whose flow regime is essentially intermittent, is modeled through a modified version of the IHACRES rainfall-runoff model. The structure of the model includes a routing module formulated as a two-store model, with the upper store simulating the quick component of the runoff and recharging the lower store which, in turn, describes the slow component of the runoff and the groundwater extraction and losses. Both stores are conceptualized as simple linear reservoirs, with the lower one that maintains a continuous water balance account of groundwater storage volumes for the upstream basin area with respect to a control cross-section, assumed to be the stream gauging station. The model is calibrated at Moio Alcantara cross-section, where daily streamflow data are available. Model calibration and validation are carried out for the period 1980–1984 and 1986–1988, respectively. A first-order analysis is also performed to assess the sensitivity of model parameters. The adopted configuration is shown to improve model performance with respect to the original IHACRES model, with the proposed formulation able to better capture the interactions between the aquifer and the river.
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