#11 | Advanced groundwater management to cope with climate challenges

Author: Alberto Barrera García (Aquatec)

Numerical simulation models are widely used for the management and planning of water resources and make it possible to reproduce in controlled conditions the phenomena that occur in nature, to be able to simulate future scenarios and intervene or put means in place sufficiently in advance to face certain situations with greater guarantees.

Having an application that integrates aquifer simulation models from a web application allows:

1) to bring the user the possibility of developing their own future scenarios and know the consequences of certain changes in the aquifer situation, 2) to increase transparency in the use of models to be displayed/used by different stakeholders, 3) to have models as updated as possible by integrating information in real-time.

Under this scenario, the “Aquifer Supervision” application has been created to manage groundwater resources at the well and/or aquifer group scale.

It is based on the cloud hosting of numerical groundwater flow models, being the hosting of the numerical model dynamic, i.e., with computational capability. This provides the ability to visualize in real-time the state of the aquifer and to simulate different future scenarios, such as the incorporation of new wells, resource scarcity, contamination processes, etc.

The functionality of the Aquifer Supervision platform contemplates the four critical elements required for integrated groundwater management, namely:

1) Data management. It allows real-time access and visualization of data and enables advanced statistical analysis of time series and georeferenced visualization of the temporal evolution of the different variables measured, such as piezometric levels, the concentration of dissolved solutes, etc. The measured variables may or may not be associated with the numerical model.

2) Management of the water resource available in the aquifer. It includes the visualization of the model results based on the spatiotemporal evolution of the state variable of the numerical model (i.e. levels and/or concentrations) and based on the temporal evolution of the different terms of the model’s mass balance. The latter can be spatially integrated for the entire model area or for a specific spatial distribution in balance zones, for which the temporal evolution of lateral transfers between them is also presented.

3) Planning of the water resource available in the aquifer. It allows the simulation of complex future scenarios.

4) Collaboration. The platform is a decision support system that maximizes collaboration between the parties interested in the management of the resources available in the aquifer (User Communities, Hydrographic Confederations, etc.), providing transparency to aquifer users on the management of the aquifer.