Enhancement of wadi dam recharge using dams coupled with aquifer storage and recovery wells

T.M. Missimer, W. Guo, R.G. Maliva, J. Rosas, K.Z. Jadoon
Environmental Earth Sciences, volume 73, issue 12, pp 7723-7731, (2014)

Enhancement of wadi dam recharge using dams coupled with aquifer storage and recovery wells


Aquifer storage and recovery, Wadi aquifers, Dams, Recharge, Groundwater modeling


​Wadi channel recharge to the underlying alluvial aquifer is naturally limited by the flashy nature of flood events, evapotranspiration losses of water from the vadose zone, and aquifer heterogeneity, particularly low vertical hydraulic conductivity. Anthropogenic lowering of the water table in many wadi aquifers has also reduced the potential recharge by increasing the thickness of the vadose zone, causing interflow water loss from surface emergence and evaporation. A method to enhance recharge is to slow the flow within wadi channels by placement of dam structures, thereby ponding water and increasing the vertical head gradient to create a more rapid rate of infiltration and percolation. Effectiveness of wadi dams to enhance aquifer recharge reduces over time due to mud deposition within the reservoir caused by storm events. Up to 80 % of the water in old wadi reservoirs is lost to free-surface evaporation before infiltration and recharge can occur. One method to maintain or increase the rate of recharge is to convey clean water by gravity flow from the reservoir down-gradient to artificially recharge the aquifer using existing wells. This type of system is a low-cost and low-energy recharge method which could greatly enhance groundwater storage in wadi aquifers. Modeling results show that existing wells could store up to 1,000 m3/day under gravity-feed conditions and up to 3,900 m3/day with the shut-in of the well to produce a pressurized system.


DOI: 10.1007/s12665-014-3410-7


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