La Charca de Suárez (LCS) is a Protected Nature Reserve encompassing 4 lagoons located 300 m from the Mediterranean coast in southern Spain. LCS is a highly anthropized area, and its conservation is closely linked to the human use of water resources in its surroundings and within the reserve. Different methodologies were applied to determine the hydrodynamics of the lagoons and their connection to the Motril-Salobreña aquifer. Fieldwork was carried out to estimate the water balance of the lagoon complex, the groundwater flow directions, the lagoons-aquifer exchange flow and the hydrochemical characteristics of the water. The study focussed on the changes that take place during dry-wet periods that were detected in a 7-month period when measurements were collected. The lagoons were connected to the aquifer with a flow-through functioning under normal conditions. However, the predominant inlet to the system was the anthropic supply of surface water which fed one of the lagoons and produced changes in its flow pattern. Sea wave storms also altered the hydrodynamic of the lagoon complex and manifested a future threat to the conservation status of the wetland according to predicted climate change scenarios. This research presents the first study on this wetland and reveals the complex hydrological functioning of the system with high spatially and temporally variability controlled by climate conditions and human activity, setting a corner stone for future studies.
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