Impact of Urban Growth and High Residential Irrigation on Streamflow and Groundwater Levels in a Peri‐Urban Semiarid Catchment

Año: 2019
Categoría: Cuencas urbanas, Recursos hídricos

Autores: Pedro Sanzana, Jorge Gironás, Isabelle Braud, José‐Francisco Muñoz, Sebastián Vicuña, Sonia Reyes‐Paecke, Francisco de la Barrera, Flora Branger, Fabrice Rodríguez, Ximena Vargas, Nancy Hitschfeld, Santiago Hormazábal

Revista: Journal of the American Water Resources Association  (2019) https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12743

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The impact of urbanization on groundwater is not simple to understand, as it depends on a variety of factors such as climate, hydrogeology, water management practices, and infrastructure. In semiarid landscapes, the urbanization processes can involve high water consumptions and irrigation increases, which in turn may contribute to groundwater recharge. We assessed the hydrological impacts of urbanization and irrigation rates in an Andean peri‐urban catchment located in Chile, in a semiarid climate.
For this purpose, we built and validated a coupled surface–groundwater model that allows the verification of a strong stream–aquifer interaction in areas with shallow groundwater, higher than some sewers and portions of the stream. Moreover, we also identified a significant local recharge associated with pipe leaks and inefficient urban irrigation. From the evaluation of different future scenarios, we found a sustainable water conservation scenario will decrease the current groundwater levels, while the median flow reduces from 408 to 389 L/s, and the low flow (Q95%) from 43 to 22L/s. Overall, our results show the relevance of integrating the modeling of surface and subsurface water resources at different spatial and temporal scales, when assessing the effect of urban development and the suitability of urban water practices.