Remote sensing and GIS for mapping groundwater recharge and discharge areas in salinity prone catchments, southeastern Australia

Sarah Olivia Tweed, Marc Leblanc, John Webb, Maciel W Lubczynski

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    Identifying groundwater recharge and discharge areas across catchments is critical for implementing effective strategies for salinity mitigation, surface-water and groundwater resource management, and ecosystem protection. In this study, a synergistic approach has been developed, which applies a combination of remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) techniques to map groundwater recharge and discharge areas. This approach is applied to an unconfined basalt aquifer, in a salinity and drought prone region of southeastern Australia. The basalt aquifer covers similar to 11,500 km(2) in an agriculturally intensive region. A review of local hydrogeological processes allowed a series of surface and subsurface indicators of groundwater recharge and discharge areas to be established. Various remote sensing and GIS techniques were then used to map these surface indicators including: terrain analysis, monitoring of vegetation activity, and mapping of infiltration capacity. All regions where groundwater is not discharging to the surface were considered potential recharge areas. This approach, applied systematically across a catchment, provides a framework for mapping recharge and discharge areas. A key component in assigning surface and subsurface indicators is the relevance to the dominant recharge and discharge processes occurring and the use of appropriate remote sensing and GIS techniques with the capacity to identify these processes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75 - 96
    Number of pages22
    JournalHydrogeology Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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