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Groundwater recharge processes in an Asian mega-delta: hydrometric evidence from Bangladesh

Nowreen, S; Taylor, RG; Shamsudduha, M; Salehin, M; Zahid, A; Ahmed, KM; (2020) Groundwater recharge processes in an Asian mega-delta: hydrometric evidence from Bangladesh. Hydrogeology Journal 10.1007/s10040-020-02238-3. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Groundwater is used intensively in Asian mega-deltas yet the processes by which groundwater is replenished in these deltaic systems remain inadequately understood. Drawing insight from hourly monitoring of groundwater levels and rainfall in two contrasting settings, comprising permeable surficial deposits of Holocene age and Plio-Pleistocene terrace deposits, together with longer-term, lower-frequency records of groundwater levels, river stage, and rainfall from the Bengal Basin, conceptual models of recharge processes in these two depositional environments are developed. The representivity of these conceptual models across the Bengal Basin in Bangladesh is explored by way of statistical cluster analysis of groundwater-level time series data. Observational records reveal that both diffuse and focused recharge processes occur in Holocene deposits, whereas recharge in Plio-Pleistocene deposits is dominated by indirect leakage from river channels where incision has enabled a direct hydraulic connection between river channels and the Plio-Pleistocene aquifer underlying surficial clays. Seasonal cycles of recharge and discharge including the onset of dry-season groundwater-fed irrigation are well characterised by compiled observational records. Groundwater depletion, evident from declining groundwater levels with a diminished seasonality, is pronounced in Plio-Pleistocene environments where direct recharge is inhibited by the surficial clays. In contrast, intensive shallow groundwater abstraction in Holocene environments can enhance direct and indirect recharge via a more permeable surface geology. The vital contributions of indirect recharge of shallow groundwater identified in both depositional settings in the Bengal Basin highlight the critical limitation of using models that exclude this process in the estimation of groundwater recharge in Asian mega-deltas.

Type: Article
Title: Groundwater recharge processes in an Asian mega-delta: hydrometric evidence from Bangladesh
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10040-020-02238-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-020-02238-3
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Groundwater recharge, River flow, Unconsolidated sediments, Bangladesh, Mega-delta
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113408
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