The Grombalia aquifer (NE Tunisia) is an example of an important source of water supply for regional and national development, where the weak controls over abstraction, fertilizer application and waste disposal, coupled with limited knowledge of aquifer dynamics, is causing aquifer over-exploitation and water quality degradation. Assessing the key role of groundwater in water-resources security is therefore of paramount importance to support new actions to preserve water quality and quantity in the long-run. This study presents one of the first investigations targeted at a complete assessment of aquifer dynamics in the Grombalia aquifer. A multi-tracer hydrogeochemical and isotopic (δ2H, δ18O and 3H) approach was used to study the influence of seasonal variation on piezometric levels, chemical and isotopic compositions, and groundwater recharge. A total of 116 samples were collected from private wells and boreholes during three periods in a 1 year monitoring campaign (February–March 2014, September 2014 and February 2015). Results revealed the overall unsuitability of groundwater for drinking and irrigation purposes (NO3 > 50 mg/L in 51% of the wells; EC >1,000 μS/cm in 99% of the wells). Isotopic balance coupled to piezometric investigation indicated the contribution of the shallow aquifer to deep groundwater recharge. The study also revealed the weakness of ‘business as usual’ management practices, highlighting possible solutions to tackle water-related challenges in the Grombalia region, where climate change, population growth and intensive agricultural activities have generated a large gap between demand and available water reserves, hence becoming a possible driver for social insecurity.

Assessing seasonal variations and aquifer vulnerability in coastal aquifers of semi-arid regions using a multi-tracer isotopic approach: the case of Grombalia (Tunisia)

Viviana Re
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Salvatore Daniele
Membro del Collaboration Group
2018-01-01

Abstract

The Grombalia aquifer (NE Tunisia) is an example of an important source of water supply for regional and national development, where the weak controls over abstraction, fertilizer application and waste disposal, coupled with limited knowledge of aquifer dynamics, is causing aquifer over-exploitation and water quality degradation. Assessing the key role of groundwater in water-resources security is therefore of paramount importance to support new actions to preserve water quality and quantity in the long-run. This study presents one of the first investigations targeted at a complete assessment of aquifer dynamics in the Grombalia aquifer. A multi-tracer hydrogeochemical and isotopic (δ2H, δ18O and 3H) approach was used to study the influence of seasonal variation on piezometric levels, chemical and isotopic compositions, and groundwater recharge. A total of 116 samples were collected from private wells and boreholes during three periods in a 1 year monitoring campaign (February–March 2014, September 2014 and February 2015). Results revealed the overall unsuitability of groundwater for drinking and irrigation purposes (NO3 > 50 mg/L in 51% of the wells; EC >1,000 μS/cm in 99% of the wells). Isotopic balance coupled to piezometric investigation indicated the contribution of the shallow aquifer to deep groundwater recharge. The study also revealed the weakness of ‘business as usual’ management practices, highlighting possible solutions to tackle water-related challenges in the Grombalia region, where climate change, population growth and intensive agricultural activities have generated a large gap between demand and available water reserves, hence becoming a possible driver for social insecurity.
2018
26
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3705880
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