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Development of a coupled surface-groundwater-pipe network model for the sustainable management of karstic groundwater

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Russell Adams, Dr Geoffrey ParkinORCiD


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This paper considers the hydrogeological simulation of groundwater movement in karstic regions using a hydrological modelling system (SHETRAN) which has been adapted for modelling flow in karstic aquifers. Flow and transport through karstic aquifers remains poorly understood, yet quantitative hydrogeological models are essential for developing and implementing groundwater protection policies. The new model has been developed and used within the STALAGMITE (Sustainable Management of Groundwater in Karstic Environments) project, funded by the European Commission. The SHETRAN model is physically based insofar as most of the parameters have some physical meaning. The SHETRAN model represents all of the key processes in the hydrological cycle, including subsurface flow in the saturated and unsaturated zones, surface flow over the ground surface and in channels, rainfall interception by vegetation canopies, evapotranspiration, snow-pack development and snowmelt. The modifications made to SHETRAN to simulate karstic aquifers are (1) the coupling of a pipe network model to a variably saturated, three-dimensional groundwater component (the VSS-NET component), to simulate flow under pressure in saturated conduits; (2) the coupling of surface water features (e.g. sinking streams or "ponors", and spring discharges) to the conduit system; (3) the addition of a preferential "bypass" flow mechanism to represent vertical infiltration through a high-conductivity epikarst zone. Lastly, a forward particle tracking routine has been developed to trace the path of hypothetical particles with matrix and pipe flow to springs or other discharge points. This component allows the definition of groundwater protection zones around a source for areas of the catchment (watershed) which are vulnerable to pollution from non-point sources (agriculture and forestry).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Adams R, Parkin G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Geology

Year: 2002

Volume: 42

Issue: 5

Pages: 513-517

ISSN (print): 0943-0105

ISSN (electronic): 1866-6299

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00254-001-0513-8


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