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Open AccessArticle

Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Strategic Storage and Urban Water Management Tool in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

1
CloudGMS Pty Ltd. 3 Wright Street, Edwardstown, Adelaide SA 5039, Australia
2
CSIRO Land and Water Waite Laboratories, Waite Rd, Urrbrae, Adelaide SA 5064, Australia
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CSIRO Land and Water, Private Mail Bag 44, Winnellie, Darwin, NT 0822, Australia
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CSIRO Land and Water, College Road, University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Hobart 7005, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(9), 1869; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091869
Received: 24 June 2019 / Revised: 3 September 2019 / Accepted: 5 September 2019 / Published: 9 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managed Aquifer Recharge for Water Resilience)
Population growth and increased irrigation demand have caused a decline in groundwater levels that limit water supply in the Darwin rural area. Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is a practical solution that can be adopted to augment stressed groundwater systems and subsequently increase the security of water supply. Aquifer storage capacity is considered to be the primary constraint to MAR where unconfined dolostone aquifers rapidly recharge during the tropical, wet season and drain again in the dry season. As a result, there is a general understanding that aquifers of this nature recharge to full capacity each wet season. However, the aquifer storage capacity and the potential for niche opportunities for MAR to alleviate declining groundwater levels has not previously been examined. This paper uses the Darwin rural area’s Proterozoic Koolpinyah Dolostone aquifer and the existing Koolpinyah Groundwater System to evaluate the prospects of MAR using both infiltration and injection techniques. Direct injection wells in an aquifer storage transfer and recovery (ASTR) scheme were favoured in this area, as injection wells occupy a smaller surface footprint than infiltration basins. This assessment suggested MAR during the early to mid-dry season could alleviate the impact of the dry season decline in groundwater levels in the Darwin rural area. The use of a larger aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) system (5,000,000 m3/year) was also assessed as a potentially viable technical solution in the northern part of the aquifer where it is understood to be confined. The ASR scheme could potentially be scaleable to augment the urban water system and provide strategic long-term storage. Consideration must also be given not only to the strategic positioning of the ASR water bank, but also to the hydrogeology of the aquifers in which the systems would be developed. Not all locations or aquifer systems can successfully support a strategic storage ASR system. Scheme-scale feasibility assessment of an ASR water bank is required. The study reported here is an early phase of a series of investigations that would typically be required to demonstrate the viability of any proposal to apply MAR to increase the reliability of conjunctive groundwater and surface water supplies in stressed water resources systems. It focusses on assessing suitable storage areas in a lateritic aquifer. View Full-Text
Keywords: Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR); aquifer storage and recovery (ASR); strategic storage; Northern Australia Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR); aquifer storage and recovery (ASR); strategic storage; Northern Australia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Knapton, A.; Page, D.; Vanderzalm, J.; Gonzalez, D.; Barry, K.; Taylor, A.; Horner, N.; Chilcott, C.; Petheram, C. Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Strategic Storage and Urban Water Management Tool in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Water 2019, 11, 1869. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091869

AMA Style

Knapton A, Page D, Vanderzalm J, Gonzalez D, Barry K, Taylor A, Horner N, Chilcott C, Petheram C. Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Strategic Storage and Urban Water Management Tool in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Water. 2019; 11(9):1869. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091869

Chicago/Turabian Style

Knapton, Anthony; Page, Declan; Vanderzalm, Joanne; Gonzalez, Dennis; Barry, Karen; Taylor, Andrew; Horner, Nerida; Chilcott, Chris; Petheram, Cuan. 2019. "Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Strategic Storage and Urban Water Management Tool in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia" Water 11, no. 9: 1869. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091869

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