High-resolution Data Based Groundwater Recharge Estimations of Aynalem Well Field
Due to the ever-increasing demand for water in Aynalem catchment and its surrounding, there has been an increased pressure on the Aynalem well field putting the sustainability of water supply from the aquifer under continuous threat. Thus, it is vital to understand the water balance of the catchment to ensure sustainable utilization of the groundwater resource. This in turn requires proper quantification of the components of water balance among which recharge estimation is the most important. This paper estimates the groundwater recharge of the Aynalem catchment using high-resolution hydro-meteorological data. Daily precipitation and temperature measurement data for years 2001-2018; groundwater level fluctuation records collected at every 30 minutes; and soil and land use maps were used to make recharge estimations. In the groundwater level fluctuation, three boreholes were monitored, but only two were utilized for the analysis because the third was under operation and does not represent the natural hydrologic condition. Thornthwaite soil moisture balance and groundwater level fluctuation methods were applied to determine the groundwater recharge of the Aynalem catchment. Accordingly, the annual rate of groundwater recharge estimated based on the soil-water balance ranges between 7mm/year and 138.5 mm/year with the weighted average value of 89.04 mm/year. The weighted average value is considered to represent the catchment value because the diverse soil and land use/cover types respond differently to allow the precipitation to recharge the groundwater. On the other hand, the groundwater recharge estimated using the groundwater level fluctuation method showed yearly groundwater recharge of 91 to 93 mm/year. The similarity in the groundwater recharge result obtained from both methods strengthens the acceptability of the estimate. It also points out that the previously reported estimate is much lower (36 to 66 mm/year).
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