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Identifying Groundwater Recharge Sites through Environmental Stable Isotopes in an Alluvial Aquifer
Open AccessArticle

Applications of Hydro-Chemical and Isotopic Tools to Improve Definitions of Groundwater Catchment Zones in a Karstic Aquifer: A Case Study

Groundwater Engineering Research Center, Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest (Romania), PROAMB Consultant, Malaga 29006, Spain
Center for Studies and Experimentation of Public Works, CEDEX, Madrid 28014, Spain
Department of Ecology and Geology, University of Malaga, Malaga 29016, Spain
Geological Survey of Spain, Madrid 28003, Spain
Applied Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Fluids Group, Department of Crystallography, Mineralogy and Mineral Deposits, Faculty of Geology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona 08007, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2017, 9(8), 595;
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 2 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 10 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotopes in Hydrology and Hydrogeology)
Some researchers have proposed the groundwater protection zone (GPZ) method as a methodological framework for defining safeguard zones of groundwater bodies. Its goal is to protect the quality of water intended for human consumption and to facilitate a common implementation of this method in all European Union member states. One of the criteria used to establish GPZs is to define contributing catchment areas (CCAs). This methodology has been applied to the Sierra de Cañete, a region comprising a carbonate aquifer in the province of Malaga, Spain. The tools used to define CCAs are hydro-chemical and isotopic characterizations, namely water isotopes (i.e., 2H, 18O and tritium) and the isotopes of dissolved sulfates (i.e., 34S and 18O). Traditionally, the Sierra de Cañete aquifer has been divided into six sectors. Hydro-chemical and isotopic characterization differentiated between two large areas in the carbonate aquifer. The southern part presents younger water that is the result of faster recharge and that shows a high level of karstification, while the northern area has a slower flow, and recharge is produced over several years. In addition, the northern part is hydraulically connected to an alluvial aquifer (i.e., Llanos de Almargen) that borders the Sierra de Cañete to the north. This aquifer has high levels of pollution due to agricultural and livestock activities carried out in the Llanos de Almargen area. This pollution is transmitted to the carbonate aquifer when groundwater depletion occurs. Therefore, the Sierra de Cañete GPZ needs to be extended to include the Llanos de Almargen aquifer. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater; hydro-chemical; Isotopic; Catchment; Karstic groundwater; hydro-chemical; Isotopic; Catchment; Karstic
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Jiménez-Madrid, A.; Castaño, S.; Vadillo, I.; Martinez, C.; Carrasco, F.; Soler, A. Applications of Hydro-Chemical and Isotopic Tools to Improve Definitions of Groundwater Catchment Zones in a Karstic Aquifer: A Case Study. Water 2017, 9, 595.

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