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Open AccessArticle

Uncertainty Estimation and Evaluation of Shallow Aquifers’ Exploitability: The Case Study of the Adige Valley Aquifer (Italy)

by Marta Castagna 1,†, Alberto Bellin 2,† and Gabriele Chiogna 3,*,†
1
Smart Hydrogeological Solutions, Piazza Damiano Chiesa 13, Rovereto 38068, Italy
2
Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, via Mesiano 77, Trento 38123, Italy
3
Faculty of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Munich, Arcistrasse 21, Munich 80333, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Markus Disse
Water 2015, 7(7), 3367-3395; https://doi.org/10.3390/w7073367
Received: 8 April 2015 / Revised: 30 May 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Evaluating the sustainability of water uses in shallow aquifers is fundamental for both environmental and socio-economic reasons. Groundwater models are the main tools to sustain informed management plans, yet simulation results are affected by both epistemic and parametric uncertainties. In this study, we aim at investigating the effect of model uncertainties on three assessment criteria: depth to water (DTW), recharge/discharge analysis and a newly defined sustainability index S. We consider, as a case study, the shallow aquifer of the Adige Valley, which is highly influenced by surface water dynamics, water withdrawals from pumping wells and a dense network of ditches. Both direct measurements and soft data are used to reduce uncertainty associated to the limited knowledge about the spatial distribution of the hydraulic parameters. Simulation results showed that the aquifer is chiefly influenced by the interaction with the Adige River and that the influence of anthropogenic activities on vulnerability of groundwater resources varies within the study area. This calls for differentiated approaches to water resources management. Uncertainty related to the three assessment criteria is chiefly controlled by uncertainty of the hydrogeological model, although it depends also on the strategy adopted for the management of water resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: water management; aquifer exploitability; groundwater characterization; Adige Valley; parameters uncertainty; inverse modeling; regional groundwater model water management; aquifer exploitability; groundwater characterization; Adige Valley; parameters uncertainty; inverse modeling; regional groundwater model
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Castagna, M.; Bellin, A.; Chiogna, G. Uncertainty Estimation and Evaluation of Shallow Aquifers’ Exploitability: The Case Study of the Adige Valley Aquifer (Italy). Water 2015, 7, 3367-3395.

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