Urban Hydrogeology Studies

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 44136

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Groundwater Engineering Research Centre-Hydraulics and Environmental Protection Department, Bucharest, Romania
Interests: urban hydrogeology; groundwater modelling; groundwater engineering; urban soil hydraulic assessment, remote sensing, geospatial information; water resources engineering; contaminant transport hydrology
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Dear Colleagues,

Urbanization worldwide is the predominant global phenomenon of our time, therefore sustainable urban development is now one of the greatest challenges faced by the contemporary world. The subsurface plays a range of roles in the complex process of urbanization, including buildings development, constructing transportation roads, providing water-supply, drainage, sanitation and in some cases solid-waste disposal.

For most of the cities, the groundwater system commonly represents a ‘linking component’ between various elements of the urban infrastructure. Since urban processes has an influence on groundwater and groundwater conditions has an impact on the urban infrastructure, groundwater systems exhibit a close relation with the processes of urbanization and this continuously progresses with the urban development cycle. Consequently, most cities around the world face issues related to urban hydrogeology, requiring attention at least as much as those provided by other planning related problems in urban areas.

Urban groundwater problems are now usually predictable. However, they are not predicted early enough, as actions usually respond to emergencies rather than planning. Consequences resulting from a lack of accurate and detailed knowledge of the underground environment and the interaction between the urban groundwater and urban infrastructure is faced by cities of the entire world in economic, environmental, social, legal and political terms.

The lack of data and planning as well as the discrepancies in communication between the scientific community and city managers increase difficulties in solving urban hydrogeology problems. To supply this understanding, the experts have to use robust datasets of urban fabric, infrastructure networks, groundwater and geothermal energy systems at city-scale. Furthermore, relevant knowledge and understanding from these must also be accessible to urban planning processes.

During the last decades a progressive advance in the scientific understanding of urban hydrogeological processes and the groundwater regimes of a substantial number of cities, has been documented. This extensive palette of subsurface challenges which cities have to contend with, lay at the core of the sustainability of the urban water cycle. This is threatened by the increasing scale and downward extent of urban subsurface construction, including utilities (cables, sewage, drainage), transportation (tunnels, passages), and storage (cellars, parking lots, thermal energy). The cumulative impact of this subsurface congestion on the surrounding geology, and especially the groundwater system, have to be persistently studied.

Key connections amongst the urban hydrogeology activities will be identified as consistent scientific results and good practice in relationship to subsurface data knowledge. The volume will encourage both cross- and trans-disciplinary, mutually beneficial dialogue between the providers and consumers of urban groundwater data and knowledge offering new perspectives on the existing research themes.

Prof. C. Radu Gogu
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Urban hydrogeology
  • urban water balance
  • groundwater infrastructure interaction
  • groundwater modelling
  • urban geothermal energy
  • groundwater quality
  • remote sensing
  • geospatial analysis
  • urban soils

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 161 KiB  
Editorial
Urban Hydrogeology Studies
by Constantin Radu Gogu
Water 2022, 14(11), 1819; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14111819 - 6 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1658
Abstract
Urbanization is a pervasive phenomenon of our time, and sustainable urban development is one of the greatest challenges faced by the contemporary world [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)

Research

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20 pages, 10378 KiB  
Article
Groundwater and Urban Planning Perspective
by Alina Radutu, Oana Luca and Constantin Radu Gogu
Water 2022, 14(10), 1627; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14101627 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3123
Abstract
An analysis of 17 Romanian cities’ Urban General Plans showed that urban planning documents do not satisfactorily rely on groundwater information. The associated hydrogeological supporting studies include only general recommendations. However, they should include specifications to improve water-balance and detail the need to [...] Read more.
An analysis of 17 Romanian cities’ Urban General Plans showed that urban planning documents do not satisfactorily rely on groundwater information. The associated hydrogeological supporting studies include only general recommendations. However, they should include specifications to improve water-balance and detail the need to implement monitoring systems to monitor groundwater levels. The studies do not recommend special construction measures to be implemented for future infrastructure elements and do not include maps delimiting the particular geotechnical and hydrogeological characteristics. A study conducted on an urban river corridor using satellite remote sensing and a methodology characterizing the chosen zone clearly shows a major concordance between the groundwater level and vertical displacements. In addition, the presence of urban anthropogenic strata associated with the groundwater level fluctuations showed amplified vertical displacements of the ground when compared to the areas where the natural deposits exist. The methodology combines subsidence occurrence, land-cover changes, hydrogeological, geological, and hydrological characteristics, climatic aspects, the location, the extension of old quarries, and the last 100 years of topographical changes. These observations emphasize the need for accurate studies to properly discriminate between phenomena and processes generating subsidence, which must be used systematically to support the general urban plans of cities as the documentation of future developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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14 pages, 5857 KiB  
Article
Spatial and Time Variable Long Term Infiltration Rates of Green Infrastructure under Extreme Climate Conditions, Drought and Highly Intensive Rainfall
by Floris Cornelis Boogaard
Water 2022, 14(6), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14060840 - 8 Mar 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3281
Abstract
Swales are widely used Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) that can reduce peak flow, collect and retain water and improve groundwater recharge. Most previous research has focused on the unsaturated infiltration rates of swales without considering the variation in infiltration rates under extreme [...] Read more.
Swales are widely used Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) that can reduce peak flow, collect and retain water and improve groundwater recharge. Most previous research has focused on the unsaturated infiltration rates of swales without considering the variation in infiltration rates under extreme climate events, such as multiple stormwater events after a long drought period. Therefore, fieldwork was carried out to collect hydraulic data of three swales under drought conditions followed by high precipitation. For this simulation, a new full-scale infiltration method was used to simulate five rainfall events filling up the total storage volume of the swales under drought conditions. The results were then compared to earlier research under regular circumstances. The results of this study show that three swales situated in the same street show a variation in initial infiltration capacity of 1.6 to 11.9 m/d and show higher infiltration rates under drought conditions. The saturated infiltration rate is up to a factor 4 lower than the initial unsaturated rate with a minimal rate of 0.5 m/d, close to the minimum required infiltration rate. Significant spatial and time variable infiltration rates are also found at similar research locations with multiple green infrastructures in close range. If the unsaturated infiltration capacity is used as the design input for computer models, the infiltration capacity may be significantly overestimated. The innovative method and the results of this study should help stormwater managers to test, model, plan and schedule maintenance requirements with more confidence, so that they will continue to perform satisfactorily over their intended design lifespan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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12 pages, 6460 KiB  
Article
Water/Cement/Bentonite Ratio Selection Method for Artificial Groundwater Barriers Made of Cutoff Walls
by Cristian-Ștefan Barbu, Andrei-Dan Sabău, Daniel-Marcel Manoli and Manole-Stelian Șerbulea
Water 2022, 14(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14030376 - 26 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3409
Abstract
As urban development requires groundwater table isolation of various historically polluted sources, the necessity of building effective, strong, flexible, and low-permeability cutoff walls raises the question of choosing optimum construction materials. Various authors have proposed water–cement–bentonite mixtures, which are often chosen by experience [...] Read more.
As urban development requires groundwater table isolation of various historically polluted sources, the necessity of building effective, strong, flexible, and low-permeability cutoff walls raises the question of choosing optimum construction materials. Various authors have proposed water–cement–bentonite mixtures, which are often chosen by experience or a trial-and-error approach, using classical methods for testing (Marsh funnel) and representation of results (water–cement ratio, water–bentonite ratio). The paper proposes a more precise approach for assessing the viscosity and global representation of the three components. Moreover, this approached is exemplified with a better documented recipe for the choice of materials based on laboratory results. The representation of the mixtures was undertaken on a limited domain of a ternary diagram, where the components are given in terms of mass percentage. The derived properties (viscosity, permeability, and compressive strength) are presented on a grid corresponding to the physically possible mixtures. Based on this representation, the most efficient recipes are chosen. Because the mixture contains only fine aggregates, the viscosity was determined using a laboratory viscosimeter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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28 pages, 19430 KiB  
Article
Integration of Numerical Models and InSAR Techniques to Assess Land Subsidence Due to Excessive Groundwater Abstraction in the Coastal and Lowland Regions of Semarang City
by Weicheng Lo, Sanidhya Nika Purnomo, Bondan Galih Dewanto, Dwi Sarah and Sumiyanto
Water 2022, 14(2), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020201 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3518
Abstract
This study was carried out to assess land subsidence due to excessive groundwater abstraction in the northern region of Semarang City by integrating the application of both numerical models and geodetic measurements, particularly those based on the synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) technique. [...] Read more.
This study was carried out to assess land subsidence due to excessive groundwater abstraction in the northern region of Semarang City by integrating the application of both numerical models and geodetic measurements, particularly those based on the synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) technique. Since 1695, alluvial deposits caused by sedimentations have accumulated in the northern part of Semarang City, in turn resulting in changes in the coastline and land use up to the present. Commencing in 1900, excessive groundwater withdrawal from deep wells in the northern section of Semarang City has exacerbated natural compaction and aggravated the problem of land subsidence. In the current study, a groundwater model equivalent to the hydrogeological system in this area was developed using MODFLOW to simulate the hydromechanical coupling of groundwater flow and land subsidence. The numerical computation was performed starting with the steady-state flow model from the period of 1970 to 1990, followed by the model of transient flow and land subsidence from the period of 1990 to 2010. Our models were calibrated with deformation data from field measurements collected from various sources (e.g., leveling, GPS, and InSAR) for simulation of land subsidence, as well as with the hydraulic heads from observation wells for simulation of groundwater flow. Comparison of the results of our numerical calculations with recorded observations led to low RMSEs, yet high R2 values, mathematically indicating that the simulation outcomes are in good agreement with monitoring data. The findings in the present study also revealed that land subsidence arising from groundwater pumping poses a serious threat to the northern part of Semarang City. Two groundwater management measures are proposed and the future development of land subsidence is accordingly projected until 2050. Our study shows quantitatively that the greatest land subsidence occurs in Genuk District, with a magnitude of 36.8 mm/year. However, if the suggested groundwater management can be implemented, the rate and affected area of land subsidence can be reduced by up to 59% and 76%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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23 pages, 12304 KiB  
Article
Modeling Shallow Urban Groundwater at Regional and Local Scales: A Case Study in Detroit, MI
by Sadaf Teimoori, Brendan F. O’Leary and Carol J. Miller
Water 2021, 13(11), 1515; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111515 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3654
Abstract
Groundwater plays a significant role in the vitality of the Great Lakes Basin, supplying water for various sectors. Due to the interconnection of groundwater and surface water features in this region, the groundwater quality can be affected, leading to potential economic, political, health, [...] Read more.
Groundwater plays a significant role in the vitality of the Great Lakes Basin, supplying water for various sectors. Due to the interconnection of groundwater and surface water features in this region, the groundwater quality can be affected, leading to potential economic, political, health, and social issues for the region. Groundwater resources have received less emphasis, perhaps due to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. The incomplete characterization of groundwater, especially shallow, near-surface waters in urban centers, is an added source of environmental vulnerability for the Great Lakes Basin. This paper provides an improved understanding of urban groundwater to reduce this vulnerability. Towards that end, two approaches for improved characterization of groundwater in southeast Michigan are employed in this project. In the first approach, we construct a regional groundwater model that encompasses four major watersheds to define the large-scale groundwater features. In the second approach, we adopt a local scale and develop a local urban water budget with subsequent groundwater simulation. The results show the groundwater movement in the two different scales, implying the effect of urban settings on the subsurface resources. Both the regional and local scale models can be used to evaluate and mitigate environmental risks in urban centers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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17 pages, 4017 KiB  
Article
Managing Stormwater by Accident: A Conceptual Study
by Carly M. Maas, William P. Anderson, Jr. and Kristan Cockerill
Water 2021, 13(11), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111492 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3016
Abstract
Stormwater-driven road salt is a chronic and acute issue for streams in cold, urban environments. One promising approach for reducing the impact of road salt contamination in streams and adjacent aquifers is to allow “accidental wetlands” to flourish in urban areas. These wetlands [...] Read more.
Stormwater-driven road salt is a chronic and acute issue for streams in cold, urban environments. One promising approach for reducing the impact of road salt contamination in streams and adjacent aquifers is to allow “accidental wetlands” to flourish in urban areas. These wetlands form naturally as a byproduct of human activities. In this study, we quantified the ability of an accidental wetland in northwestern North Carolina, USA, to reduce the timing and peak concentration of road salt in a stream. Monitoring suggests that flow and transport processes through the wetland reduce peak concentrations and delay their arrival at the adjacent stream. We expand these findings with numerical simulations that model multiple meltwater and summer storm event scenarios. The model output demonstrates that small accidental wetland systems can reduce peak salinities by 94% and delay the arrival of saltwater pulses by 45 days. Our findings indicate that accidental wetlands improve stream water quality and they may also reduce peak temperatures during temperature surges in urban streams. Furthermore, because they find their own niche, accidental wetlands may be more effective than some intentionally constructed wetlands, and provide opportunities to explore managing stormwater by letting nature take its course. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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25 pages, 5139 KiB  
Article
Hydrogeological Studies Integrating the Climate, Freshwater Cycle, and Catchment Geography for the Benefit of Urban Resilience and Sustainability
by Susie Mielby and Hans Jørgen Henriksen
Water 2020, 12(12), 3324; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123324 - 26 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3296
Abstract
Today, there is an increasing need to understand how to link the management of the surface and subsurface to avoid disasters in many urban areas and/or reduce the likelihood of future risks. There is a need for thorough investigation of subsurface processes. This [...] Read more.
Today, there is an increasing need to understand how to link the management of the surface and subsurface to avoid disasters in many urban areas and/or reduce the likelihood of future risks. There is a need for thorough investigation of subsurface processes. This investigation should entail an analysis of water security, flood risks, and drought hazards in urban areas that may affect long-term sustainability and the ability to recover from disturbance, e.g., a capacity for resilience. In this context, as part of this analysis, potential biophysical and hydro-meteorological hazards need to be studied and subdivided according to geological, hydrogeological, man-made, and climatic origin, and by their characteristic temporal scales and site specific characteristics. The introduction of adaptive design and resilience in urban and suburban planning and management requires a shift towards more organic, adaptive, and flexible design and management strategies. This leads to the use of a complex cross-disciplinary methodology. We consider data collation, modelling, and monitoring designed to fit typical urban situations and complexity. Furthermore, implementation of strategic planning, decision-making to manage the consequences of future infrastructure and constructions are considered. The case studies presented are experiences from different hydrogeological studies performed in Odense, Denmark. Rising population and densification is affecting Odense, and there is risk of raised seawater level, groundwater, and surface-water flooding. The anthropogenic modification of subsurface structures and increased climate changes enhance the risk of hazards and the risk of coinciding impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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15 pages, 15951 KiB  
Article
Nitrogen Mass Balance and Pressure Impact Model Applied to an Urban Aquifer
by Mitja Janža, Joerg Prestor, Simona Pestotnik and Brigita Jamnik
Water 2020, 12(4), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041171 - 19 Apr 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3431
Abstract
The assurance of drinking water supply is one of the biggest emerging global challenges, especially in urban areas. In this respect, groundwater and its management in the urban environment are gaining importance. This paper presents the modeling of nitrogen load from the leaky [...] Read more.
The assurance of drinking water supply is one of the biggest emerging global challenges, especially in urban areas. In this respect, groundwater and its management in the urban environment are gaining importance. This paper presents the modeling of nitrogen load from the leaky sewer system and from agriculture and the impact of this pressure on the groundwater quality (nitrate concentration) in the urban aquifer located beneath the City of Ljubljana. The estimated total nitrogen load in the model area of 58 km2 is 334 ton/year, 38% arising from the leaky sewer system and 62% from agriculture. This load was used as input into the groundwater solute transport model to simulate the distribution of nitrate concentration in the aquifer. The modeled nitrate concentrations at the observation locations were found to be on average slightly lower (2.7 mg/L) than observed, and in general reflected the observed contamination pattern. The ability of the presented model to relate and quantify the impact of pressures from different contamination sources on groundwater quality can be beneficially used for the planning and optimization of groundwater management measures for the improvement of groundwater quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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20 pages, 4073 KiB  
Article
Groundwater Contribution to Sewer Network Baseflow in an Urban Catchment-Case Study of Pin Sec Catchment, Nantes, France
by Fabrice Rodriguez, Amélie-Laure Le Delliou, Hervé Andrieu and Jorge Gironás
Water 2020, 12(3), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030689 - 3 Mar 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3892
Abstract
Sewer systems affect urban soil characteristics and subsoil water flow. The direct connection observed between baseflow in sewer systems under drainage infiltrations and piezometric levels influences the hydrological behavior of urban catchments, and must consequently be considered in the hydrologic modeling of urban [...] Read more.
Sewer systems affect urban soil characteristics and subsoil water flow. The direct connection observed between baseflow in sewer systems under drainage infiltrations and piezometric levels influences the hydrological behavior of urban catchments, and must consequently be considered in the hydrologic modeling of urban areas. This research studies the groundwater contribution to sewer networks by first characterizing the phenomenon using experimental data recorded on a small urban catchment in Nantes (France). Then, the model MODFLOW was used to simulate the infiltration of groundwater into a sewer network and model dry weather flows at an urban catchment scale. This application of MODFLOW requires representing, in a simplified way, the interactions between the soil and the sewer trench, which acts as a drain. Observed average groundwater levels were satisfactorily simulated by the model while the baseflow dynamics is well reproduced. Nonetheless, soil parameters resulted to be very sensitive, and achieving good results for joint groundwater levels and baseflow was not possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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21 pages, 17761 KiB  
Article
Understanding Groundwater Mineralization Changes of a Belgian Chalky Aquifer in the Presence of 1,1,1-Trichloroethane Degradation Reactions
by Youcef Boudjana, Serge Brouyère, Pierre Jamin, Philippe Orban, Davide Gasparella and Alain Dassargues
Water 2019, 11(10), 2009; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102009 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3719
Abstract
An abandoned industrial site in Belgium, located in the catchment of a chalk aquifer mainly used for drinking water, has been investigated for groundwater pollution due to a mixture of chlorinated solvents with mainly 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) at high concentrations. The observed elevated groundwater [...] Read more.
An abandoned industrial site in Belgium, located in the catchment of a chalk aquifer mainly used for drinking water, has been investigated for groundwater pollution due to a mixture of chlorinated solvents with mainly 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) at high concentrations. The observed elevated groundwater mineralization was partly explained by chemical reactions associated with hydrolysis and dehydrohalogenation (HY/DH) of 1,1,1-TCA in the chalky aquifer. Leaching of soluble compounds from a backfilled layer located in the site could also have influenced the groundwater composition. In this context, the objective of this study was to investigate the hydrochemical processes controlling groundwater mineralization through a characterization of the backfill and groundwater chemical composition. This is essential in the context of required site remediation to define appropriate remediation measures to soil and groundwater. Groundwater samples were collected for chemical analyses of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons, major ions, and several minor ones. X-Ray Diffraction Analysis (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and a leaching test according to CEN/TS 14405 norm were carried out on the backfill soil. δ34S and δ18O of sulphate in groundwater and in the backfill eluates were also compared. Both effects influencing the groundwater hydrochemistry around the site were clarified. First, calcite dissolution under the 1,1,1-TCA degradation reactions results in a water mineralization increase. It was assessed by geochemical batch simulations based on observed data. Second, sulphate and calcium released from the backfill have reached the groundwater. The leaching test provided an estimation of the minimal released quantities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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8 pages, 871 KiB  
Perspective
Global Policy Overview of Groundwater in Urban Development—A Tale of 10 Cities!
by Stephen Foster
Water 2020, 12(2), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020456 - 8 Feb 2020
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 4658
Abstract
Urbanisation is the predominant global phenomenon of our time. This overview provides an assessment of the trends in both public and private use of groundwater for urban water-supply in 10 developing cities and their policy implications, which is based on the global experience [...] Read more.
Urbanisation is the predominant global phenomenon of our time. This overview provides an assessment of the trends in both public and private use of groundwater for urban water-supply in 10 developing cities and their policy implications, which is based on the global experience during 2001–2012 of the World Bank—Groundwater Management Advisory Team (a multi-disciplinary team of groundwater specialists working long-term for the World Bank, with special funding principally from the Netherlands Government supplemented by the United Kingdom and Denmark), together with subsequent follow-up enquiries. The strategic assessment analyses both the benefits to water users and the broader community of groundwater use, and the associated risks in terms of (a) compromising resource sustainability, (b) impacting the built infrastructure, (c) public-health hazards arising from widespread groundwater pollution and (d) the economic distortion of water-sector investments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Hydrogeology Studies)
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