Special Issue "Applied Groundwater Modelling for Water Resources Management and Protection"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2022) | Viewed by 12776

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Husam Baalousha
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geosciences, College of Petroleum Engineering and Geosciences, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
Interests: water resources; groundwater modelling; solute transport; vulnerability assessment; uncertainty analysis; sensitivity analysis
Prof. Dr. Christopher Lowry
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, NY, USA
Interests: groundwater modelling; groundwater/surface water interaction; heat as a groundwater tracer; water security; crowdsourcing hydrologic data

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Groundwater models are powerful tools for water resources management and protection. With the availability of powerful computers, user-friendly tools, and many open source codes, the usage of models is becoming more popular than ever. Despite their popularity, the development of robust models requires critical elements such as proper conceptualization, appropriate boundaries, and good calibration and validation, among other things. This is often a challenging task due to the complexity of hydrogeological settings and the limited available data.

This Special Issue focuses on the latest developments and applications of flow models for water resources management and protection. We invite you to submit your latest research works on subjects including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Regional modelling studies for complex hydrogeological settings.
  • Groundwater models for catchment management.
  • Modelling transboundary aquifers.
  • Aquifer storage and recovery modelling.
  • Groundwater/surface water interaction.
  • Modelling the impact of climate change on water resources.
  • The use and application of artificial intelligence in groundwater modelling.
  • Model calibration with data scarcity.
  • Modelling saturated/unsaturated flow.

Prof. Dr. Husam Baalousha
Prof. Dr. Christopher Lowry
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Regional modelling studies for complex hydrogeological setting
  • Groundwater models for catchment management
  • Modelling transboundary aquifers
  • Aquifer storage and recovery modelling
  • Groundwater/surface water interaction
  • Modelling impact of climate change on water resources
  • The use and application of artificial intelligence in groundwater modelling
  • Model calibration with data scarcity
  • Modelling saturated/unsaturated flow

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Applied Groundwater Modelling for Water Resource Management and Protection
Water 2022, 14(7), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14071142 - 02 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 538
Abstract
Groundwater models are powerful tools for purposes such as quantifying groundwater systems, examining various management scenarios, and for protection against contamination [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Measuring and Validating the Actual Evaporation and Soil Moisture Dynamic in Arid Regions under Unirrigated Land Using Smart Field Lysimeters and Numerical Modeling
Water 2022, 14(18), 2787; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182787 - 08 Sep 2022
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Though forming a fundamental component of the water budget, soil evaporation is challenging to quantify in practice. Most water balance and soil moisture studies rely on pan evaporation or empirical relations to calculate evaporation, which is later used for water budget estimation. This [...] Read more.
Though forming a fundamental component of the water budget, soil evaporation is challenging to quantify in practice. Most water balance and soil moisture studies rely on pan evaporation or empirical relations to calculate evaporation, which is later used for water budget estimation. This study is based on the in situ measurement of soil evaporation in arid regions using smart field lysimeters. These lysimeters calculate the actual evaporation and downward leakage within the soil column using changes in weight, in addition to measuring temperature, soil moisture, soil matric potential, and other ancillary parameters in real time. The study analyses 17 months of data collected from two smart-field lysimeters installed in loamy soil within unirrigated land in Qatar. Lysimeter data were validated using a 1D numerical unsaturated flow model using Hydrus, and utilized laboratory testing results of the water retention. The Hydrus model output shows a good match between numerical and lysimeter results. The volumetric soil moisture of the topsoil in the lysimeters varies between 6% and 36%, with a rapid response to rainfall events. The actual recharge based on data analysis amounts to 5% of the annual rainfall. An analysis of the results reveals a substantial difference between the potential evaporation and the actual evaporation. While the potential values can be adequate for wet countries where rainfall is high, it is irrelevant in arid countries, due to the lack of moisture available for evaporation throughout most of the year. Results also show that while the topsoil responds quickly to rainfall events, it takes a considerable amount of time until such effects are propagated to below the soil’s lower boundary. The findings of this study may help decision makers, researchers, and irrigation engineers plan for the sustainable management and protection of scarce resources. Full article
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Article
Large-Scale Water Storage in Aquifers: Enhancing Qatar’s Groundwater Resources
Water 2021, 13(17), 2405; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172405 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1329
Abstract
Qatar’s water resource has been largely overexploited, leading to the severe depletion of its aquifers and degradation of water quality due to saline intrusions. Qatar envisions employing regional aquifers to store water via forced injection of desalinated water and thus increase available from [...] Read more.
Qatar’s water resource has been largely overexploited, leading to the severe depletion of its aquifers and degradation of water quality due to saline intrusions. Qatar envisions employing regional aquifers to store water via forced injection of desalinated water and thus increase available from a few days to two months. A strategy for the implementation of forced injections is proposed based on a spatially distributed model of groundwater flow at the scale of the whole country. The model is based on calibration under steady-state flow conditions and for a two-dimensional single regional aquifer due to the lack of data. Injection scenarios include various mean injection rates at the scale of the whole system and are interpreted under the assumption that the additional storage should feed 2.7 M inhabitants for two months at a rate of 100 L/person/day. When this water supply stock is reached, the model is run to define the infiltration rate, which allows the stock to remain constant over time as a result of an even balance between infiltrations, withdrawals and also leaks or inlets through the boundary conditions of the system. Full article
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Article
On the Validity of the Null Current Assumption for Modeling Sorptive Reactive Transport and Electro-Diffusion in Porous Media
Water 2021, 13(16), 2221; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162221 - 15 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
In multispecies electrolyte solutions, each individual species can migrate according to its specific ionic properties. This process is called electrochemical migration or electro-diffusion and is well-described by the Nernst–Planck equation. The common approach for solving the corresponding mathematical system is based on the [...] Read more.
In multispecies electrolyte solutions, each individual species can migrate according to its specific ionic properties. This process is called electrochemical migration or electro-diffusion and is well-described by the Nernst–Planck equation. The common approach for solving the corresponding mathematical system is based on the null current (NC) assumption, which expresses the electric potential in terms of charges and concentrations of chemical components. This assumption has a great advantage as it eliminates the electric potential from the Nernst–Planck equation. However, the NC assumption has limited capacities in describing electro-diffusion processes when the domain is subjected to an external electric field. The validity of the NC assumption could be questionable, even in the absence of an external electric field. This topic has never been investigated in the past. The main goal of this work is to evaluate the validity of the NC assumption and to understand its effect on the model outputs. Thus, we present a new reactive transport model that allows for a reliable representation of the electrochemical migration process. This model is based on the Nernst–Planck and Poisson (NPP) equations which are solved together. We also implement a model based on the NC assumption. Both models have been validated by comparison with CrunchFlow, based on several benchmarks. The results show that in the case of high sorptivity, the NC assumption is no longer valid. Therefore, in the case of sorption processes, the NPP should be used to simulate coulombic interactions. Full article
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Article
Parameterization of Pilot Point Methodology for Supplementing Sparse Transmissivity Data
Water 2021, 13(15), 2082; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152082 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
Pilot point methodology (PPM) permits estimation of transmissivity at unsampled pilot points by solving the hydraulic head based inverse problem. Especially relevant to areas with sparse transmissivity data, the methodology supplements the limited field data. Presented herein is an approach for estimating parameters [...] Read more.
Pilot point methodology (PPM) permits estimation of transmissivity at unsampled pilot points by solving the hydraulic head based inverse problem. Especially relevant to areas with sparse transmissivity data, the methodology supplements the limited field data. Presented herein is an approach for estimating parameters of PPM honoring the objectives of refinement of the transmissivity (T) interpolation and the model calibration. The parameters are the locations and number of pilot transmissivity points. The location parameter is estimated by defining a qualifying matrix Q comprising weighted sum of the hydraulic head-sensitivity and the kriging variance fields. Whereas the former component of Q promotes the model calibration, the latter one leads to improved T interpolation by locating pilot points in un-sampled tracts. Further, a three-stage methodology is proposed for an objective determination of the number of pilot points. It is based upon sequential upgradation of the Variogram as the pilot points are added to the data base, ensuring its convergence with the head-based optimal Variogram. The model has been illustrated by applying it to Satluj-Beas interbasin wherein the pumping test data is not only sparse, but also unevenly distributed. Full article
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Article
Estimating Soil Water Susceptibility to Salinization in the Mekong River Delta Using a Modified DRASTIC Model
Water 2021, 13(12), 1636; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121636 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1585
Abstract
Saltwater intrusion risk assessment is a foundational step for preventing and controlling salinization in coastal regions. The Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) is highly affected by drought and salinization threats, especially severe under the impacts of global climate change and the rapid development of [...] Read more.
Saltwater intrusion risk assessment is a foundational step for preventing and controlling salinization in coastal regions. The Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) is highly affected by drought and salinization threats, especially severe under the impacts of global climate change and the rapid development of an upstream hydropower dam system. This study aimed to apply a modified DRASTIC model, which combines the generic DRASTIC model with hydrological and anthropogenic factors (i.e., river catchment and land use), to examine seawater intrusion vulnerability in the soil-water-bearing layer in the Ben Tre province, located in the VMD. One hundred and fifty hand-auger samples for total dissolved solids (TDS) measurements, one of the reflected salinity parameters, were used to validate the results obtained with both the DRASTIC and modified DRASTIC models. The spatial analysis tools in the ArcGIS software (i.e., Kriging and data classification tools) were used to interpolate, classify, and map the input factors and salinization susceptibility in the study area. The results show that the vulnerability index values obtained from the DRASTIC and modified DRASTIC models were 36–128 and 55–163, respectively. The vulnerable indices increased from inland districts to coastal areas. The Ba Tri and Binh Dai districts were recorded as having very high vulnerability to salinization, while the Chau Thanh and Cho Lach districts were at a low vulnerability level. From the comparative analysis of the two models, it is obvious that the modified DRASTIC model with the inclusion of a river or canal network and agricultural practices factors enables better performance than the generic DRASTIC model. This enhancement is explained by the significant impact of anthropogenic activities on the salinization of soil water content. This study’s results can be used as scientific implications for planners and decision-makers in river catchment and land-use management practices. Full article
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Article
Potential Use of Treated Wastewater as Groundwater Recharge Using GIS Techniques and Modeling Tools in Dhuleil-Halabat Well-Field/Jordan
Water 2021, 13(11), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111581 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1206
Abstract
Due to limited rainfall and precipitations, different developing countries depend on groundwater (G.W.) resources to challenge water scarcity. This practice of continuous and excessive G.W. pumping has led to severe water shortages and deteriorated water quality in different countries. Recharging of treated wastewater [...] Read more.
Due to limited rainfall and precipitations, different developing countries depend on groundwater (G.W.) resources to challenge water scarcity. This practice of continuous and excessive G.W. pumping has led to severe water shortages and deteriorated water quality in different countries. Recharging of treated wastewater (TWW) into G.W. provides a critical solution for solving water scarcity, extending the well’s service life, and maintaining the G.W. supply. However, effective injection practice requires accurate tools and methods to determine the best location for groundwater recharge (GWRC). This work offers a new tool based on GIS–Multi-Criteria Analysis to identify the potential site and locations for GWRC with TWW. The developed methodology was applied to one of the most used well-field areas in Jordan (Dhuleil-Halabat). The G.W. flow for the B-B2/A7 formation system in the area of study was simulated using Processing Modflow (version 8.0). The analysis combined six thematic maps produced following the environmental, technical, and economic criteria to draw conclusions and recommendations. Both steady and transient conditions were used to predict the future changes that might occur under different stresses and after continuous GWR. The study evaluated three possible scenarios of artificial GWRC to evaluate the process efficiency and determine the effect on the water table level. The results revealed that only 0.05% (0.14 Km2) of the total surface area of 450 Km2 is suitable for GWRC. A GWRC with TWW at a rate of 3.65 Mm3/year (MCMY) would provide a good G.W. table recovery to 39.68 m in the year 2025, maintain a steady-state water table ≥ of 50.77 m for up to six years, and secure water supply for future generations. The proposed methodology can be used as a useful tool that can be applied to regulate the GWRC practice worldwide. Full article
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Article
Fuzzy or Non-Fuzzy? A Comparison between Fuzzy Logic-Based Vulnerability Mapping and DRASTIC Approach Using a Numerical Model. A Case Study from Qatar
Water 2021, 13(9), 1288; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091288 - 01 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1180
Abstract
Vulnerability maps are useful for groundwater protection, water resources development, and land use management. The literature contains various approaches for intrinsic vulnerability assessment, and they mainly depend on hydrogeological settings and anthropogenic impacts. Most methods assign certain ratings and weights to each contributing [...] Read more.
Vulnerability maps are useful for groundwater protection, water resources development, and land use management. The literature contains various approaches for intrinsic vulnerability assessment, and they mainly depend on hydrogeological settings and anthropogenic impacts. Most methods assign certain ratings and weights to each contributing factor to groundwater vulnerability. Fuzzy logic (FL) is an alternative artificial intelligence tool for overlay analysis, where spatial properties are fuzzified. Unlike the specific rating used in the weighted overlay-based vulnerability mapping methods, FL allows more flexibility through assigning a degree of contribution without specific boundaries for various classes. This study compares the results of DRASTIC vulnerability approach with the FL approach, applying both on Qatar aquifers. The comparison was checked and validated against a numerical model developed for the same study area, and the actual anthropogenic contamination load. Results show some similarities and differences between both approaches. While the coastal areas fall in the same category of high vulnerability in both cases, the FL approach shows greater variability than the DRASTIC approach and better matches with model results and contamination load. FL is probably better suited for vulnerability assessment than the weighted overlay methods. Full article
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Article
Comparing Q-Tree with Nested Grids for Simulating Managed River Recharge of Groundwater
Water 2020, 12(12), 3516; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123516 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
The use of rivers to recharge groundwater is a key water resource management method. High-precision simulations of the groundwater level near rivers can be used to accurately assess the recharge effect. In this study, we used two unstructured grid refinement methods, namely, the [...] Read more.
The use of rivers to recharge groundwater is a key water resource management method. High-precision simulations of the groundwater level near rivers can be used to accurately assess the recharge effect. In this study, we used two unstructured grid refinement methods, namely, the quadtree (Q-tree) and nested grid refinement techniques, to simulate groundwater movement under river recharge. We comparatively analyzed the two refinement methods by considering the simulated groundwater level changes before and after the recharge at different distances from the river and by analyzing the groundwater flow and model computation efficiency. Compared to the unrefined model, the two unstructured grid refinement models significantly improve the simulation precision and more accurately describe groundwater level changes from river recharge. The unstructured grid refinement models have higher calculation efficiencies than the base model (the global refinement model) without compromising the simulation precision too much. The Q-tree model has a higher simulation precision and a lower computation time than the nested grid model. In summary, the Q-tree grid refinement method increases the computation efficiency while guaranteeing simulation precision at a certain extent. We therefore recommended the use of this grid refinement method in simulating river recharge to the aquifers. Full article
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Article
Evaluating the Impacts of Pumping on Aquifer Depletion in Arid Regions Using MODFLOW, ANFIS and ANN
Water 2020, 12(8), 2297; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082297 - 15 Aug 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1474
Abstract
In arid regions, the groundwater drawdown consistently increases, and even for a constant pumping rate, long-term predictions remain a challenge. The present research applies the modular three-dimensional finite-difference groundwater flow (MODFLOW) model to a unique aquifer facing challenges of undefined boundary conditions. Artificial [...] Read more.
In arid regions, the groundwater drawdown consistently increases, and even for a constant pumping rate, long-term predictions remain a challenge. The present research applies the modular three-dimensional finite-difference groundwater flow (MODFLOW) model to a unique aquifer facing challenges of undefined boundary conditions. Artificial neural networks (ANN) and adaptive neuro fuzzy inference systems (ANFIS) have also been investigated for predicting groundwater levels in the aquifer. A framework is developed for evaluating the impact of various scenarios of groundwater pumping on aquifer depletion. A new code in MATLAB was written for predictions of aquifer depletion using ANN/ANFIS. The geotechnical, meteorological, and hydrological data, including discharge and groundwater levels from 1980 to 2018 for wells in Qassim, were collected from the ministry concerned. The Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency and mean square error examined the performance of the models. The study found that the existing pumping rates can result in an alarming drawdown of 105 m in the next 50 years. Appropriate water conservation strategies for maintaining the existing pumping rate can reduce the impact on aquifer depletion by 33%. Full article
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Article
Groundwater Parameter Inversion Using Topographic Constraints and a Zonal Adaptive Multiscale Procedure: A Case Study of an Alluvial Aquifer
Water 2020, 12(7), 1899; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071899 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1023
Abstract
The identification of aquifer parameters (i.e., specific yield and hydraulic conductivity) and forcing terms (recharge) is crucial for the process of modeling groundwater flow and contamination. Inversion techniques allow the unravelling of complex systems’ heterogeneity with more ease than manual calibration by computing [...] Read more.
The identification of aquifer parameters (i.e., specific yield and hydraulic conductivity) and forcing terms (recharge) is crucial for the process of modeling groundwater flow and contamination. Inversion techniques allow the unravelling of complex systems’ heterogeneity with more ease than manual calibration by computing parameter fields through an automated minimization between simulated and measured data (i.e., water head or measured aquifer parameters). It also allows the iterative search of multiple, equally plausible solutions, depending on system complexity (e.g., aquifer heterogeneity and variability of the forcing terms such as recharge). A Zoned Adaptive Multiscale Triangulation (ZAMT) is used for parameter estimation. ZAMT is the extension of an adaptive multiscale parameter estimation procedure already applied on different field cases. This extension consists of adding constraints varying over the domain. The ZAMT dissociates the parameter grid from the calculation mesh and allows local parameter grid refinement depending on local criteria, addressing the ill-posedness of inversion problems, decreasing computation time by reducing the amount of possible solutions and local minima, and ensuring flexibility in the parameter’s distribution. Each parameter is defined per vertex of the parameter grid; it can be set with a different range of values in order to integrate more pedo-geological information and help the optimization process by reducing the number of local minima. For the same purpose, a plausibility term based on topological characteristics of the aquifer or minimal and maximal water levels is added to the objective function. Groundwater flow is described by a classical nonlinear diffusion-type equation (unconfined aquifer), which is discretized with a two-dimensional nonconforming finite element method because water head data is unsuitable to invert three-dimensional parameter fields. Therefore, flow is considered mainly horizontal, and the parameters are obtained as average values on the saturated thickness. The study area is an alluvial (unconfined) aquifer of 6.64 km², situated in the southern, Mediterranean part of France. The simulation runs with a chronicle of 191 piezometers over 7 years (2012–2019), using a calibration period of 5 years (2012–2016). The optimization threshold is set to ensure a mean absolute error below 40 cm. The ZAMT and the additional plausibility criterion were found to produce an ensemble of realistic parameter sets with low parameter standard deviation. The model is considered robust as the water head error remains at the same level during the verification period, which includes an exceptionally dry year (2017). Overall, the calibration is best near the rivers (Dirichlet boundaries), while the terraced portion of the site challenges the limits of the 2D approach and the inversion procedure. Full article
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