Estimating Groundwater Recharge Rates

RAIN 23Today’s article is admittedly not for the casual water observer due to the technical orientation of the material. Nonetheless, I hope I can inject enough easier-to-read info to give everyone some value.

When it comes to the world’s groundwater environmentalists, engineers, politicians and pretty much everyone involved asks the same, mystical, magical, and confounding question;

HOW FAST DOES OUR AQUIFER RECHARGE ITSELF?

This question is vitally important for towns like Memphis, TN where 100% of the water used comes from a magnificent aquifer. It is also vital for all communities that use groundwater because we simply need to know if our usage is depleting water faster than Mother nature can replenish it.

The ramifications to this question are as complicated as the question itself. For instance, what if we did find out that we were using water faster than it was being replenished? Could we even do anything about it? What would our solutions be? Would we conserve? Would we ration water, or limit how much homeowners could draw on a given day? Would we prohibit new homes and businesses from locating to our area?

WATER brook1There are also difficulties in determining recharge rate. First off, most methods are highly complicated, require a lot of technology and funds to carry out the work. Adding an insult to injury we also have to remember that the environment is constantly changing, so what we learn about recharge rate today, may actually not apply the following year. Ouch!

If you live in an area dependent on groundwater, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to learn more about the precious resource you depend on. Who takes care of it? Who studies the recharge and depletion rate? What are your potential risks of contamination? Has the quality changed over time? These are important things to know.

I came across a very interesting, and I believe effective tool for determining the recharge rate of groundwater/aquifers. At the website www.brgm.fr you can download a free, Excel-based program called ESPERE © v1.5. This is not for the casual observe as it requires very precise and technical input data on a daily basis. Nonetheless, for scientists charged with the responsibility of managing groundwater systems, I think this program would be very helpful.

Yu-Feng Forrest Lin, technology editor for the National Groundwater Association states that another program called XLSTAT© by Addinsoft is required for full functionality.

GET ESPERE

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