Managed Aquifer Recharge
Artificial recharge is one of the many components involved in integrated water resources management. Integration means that conventional and non-conventional sources should be studied together. Among the latter, we focus on Managed Artificial Recharge (MAR).
MAR may be defined as controlled operations aimed at transferring water from ground surface into underlying aquifers. The issue of "managed operations" distinguishes this concept to that of natural replenishment or natural recharge. In a MAR facility location, flow rates and quality of the infiltration water are all decision variables, and thus need to be included into the design of the facility and subsequent operation. Moreover, being decision variables they can be included in an optimization process.
Area of Study
The main area of study is the Llobregat River, from the Sant Andreu Basin to the Lower Valley and the Delta. In this area several recharge activities are taking place simultaneously:
- Scarification activities at the river bed (Lower Valley),
- Deep injection from drinking water quality surpluses (Delta),
- Surface ponds in Castellbisbal (St. Andreu Basin),
- Surface ponds in St. Vicenç dels Horts (Lower Valley),
- Seawater positive barrier (Delta), previously active, now discontinued
- Surface ponds in Santa Coloma de Cervelló (Lower Valley), as a potential site for new activities
- This research line is and has been done in collaboration with a number of European partners working on sites all along Europe, including Portugal (Algarve, stormwater infiltration), Spain (Santiuste, Segovia, river water infiltration), Italy (Brenta River and Serchio River, induced recharge and river water infiltration), Malta (desalinated water injected in deep wells), Greece (Athens and Thessaloniki, treated wastewater reinjection, and Israel (Dan Region, treated wastewater, and Menashe, desalinated water infiltration).
Our research focuses on three main activities:
- Quantitative evaluation, focused on the variations of infiltration rates with time, coupled to bioclogging formation at the surface of the infiltration ponds or wells. An example of the evolution of the infiltration rate in the Sant Vicenç dels Horts site is given below
- Control and monitoring of water quality, including here both the variations in water quality during infiltration, focusing in particular in redox zonification, and the presence of mixing of the indigenous and the recharged water as a result of hydrodynamic dispersion. Emphasis is given to ways to promote such mixing.This work has been done by a combination of batch, column and tank experiments (see attached figure), field work and numerical simulations.
During infiltration a number of biogeochemical processes take place, allowing for a multidisciplinary analysis. For example, we can monitor oxygen content along a vertical transect and as a function of time.
And correlate it with an indicator of biological activity diversity, such as the electron transport system activity or the microbial functional diversity (a measure of entropy, known as the Shannon Index)
Emerging compound degradation during MAR practices, measured both in batch and column experiments, as well as in the Sant Vicenç dels Horts site (see figure)
Artificial recharge, water quality, infiltration, clogging, emerging compounds
Armengol, S.; Sanchez-Vila, X.; Folch, A., An approach to aquifer vulnerability including uncertainty in a spatial random function framework, JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY Volume: 517 Pages: 889-900 Published: SEP 19 2014
Barbieri, Manuela; Carrera, Jesus; Ayora, Carlos; et al., Formation of diclofenac and sulfamethoxazole reversible transformation products in aquifer material under denitrifying conditions: Batch experiments, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT Volume: 426 Pages: 256-263 Published: JUN 1 2012
Barbieri, Manuela; Carrera, Jesus; Sanchez-Vila, Xavier; et al., Microcosm experiments to control anaerobic redox conditions when studying the fate of organic micropollutants in aquifer material, JOURNAL OF CONTAMINANT HYDROLOGY Volume: 126 Issue: 3-4 Pages: 330-345 Published: NOV 1 2011
Barbieri, Manuela; Licha, Tobias; Noedler, Karsten; et al., Fate of beta-blockers in aquifer material under nitrate reducing conditions: Batch experiments, CHEMOSPHERE Volume: 89 Issue: 11 Pages: 1272-1277 Published: NOV 2012
Dutta, Tanushree; Carles-Brangari, Albert; Fernandez-Garcia, Daniel; et al., Vadose zone oxygen (O-2) dynamics during drying and wetting cycles: An artificial recharge laboratory experiment, JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY Volume: 527 Pages: 151-159 Published: AUG 2015
Freixa, A.; Rubol, S.; Carles-Brangari, A.; et al., The effects of sediment depth and oxygen concentration on the use of organic matter: An experimental study using an infiltration sediment tank, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT Volume: 540 Special Issue: SI Pages: 20-31 Published: JAN 1 2016
Jurado, Anna; Vazquez-Sune, Enric; Carrera, Jesus; et al., Quantifying chemical reactions by using mixing analysis, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT Volume: 502 Pages: 448-456 Published: JAN 1 2015
Navarro-Ortega, Alicia; Acuna, Vicenc; Batalla, Ramon J.; et al., Assessing and forecasting the impacts of global change on Mediterranean rivers. The SCARCE Consolider project on Iberian basins, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Special Issue: SI Pages: 918-933 Published: MAY 2012
Pedretti, Daniele; Barahona-Palomo, Marco; Bolster, Diogo; et al., A quick and inexpensive method to quantify spatially variable infiltration capacity for artificial recharge ponds using photographic images, JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY Volume: 430 Pages: 118-126 Published: APR 2 2012
Pedretti, Daniele; Barahona-Palomo, Marco; Bolster, Diogo; et al., Probabilistic analysis of maintenance and operation of artificial recharge ponds, ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES Volume: 36 Special Issue: SI Pages: 23-35 Published: FEB 2012
Pedretti, Daniele; Fernandez-Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez-Vila, Xavier; et al., Combining physical-based models and satellite images for the spatio-temporal assessment of soil infiltration capacity, STOCHASTIC ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND RISK ASSESSMENT Volume: 25 Issue: 8 Pages: 1065-1075 Published: DEC 2011
Rubol, S.; Freixa, A.; Carles-Brangari, A.; et al., Connecting bacterial colonization to physical and biochemical changes in a sand box infiltration experiment, JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY Volume: 517 Pages: 317-327 Published: SEP 19 2014
Sanchez-Vila, Xavier; Rubol, Simonetta; Carles-Brangari, Albert; et al., An analytical solution to study substrate-microbial dynamics in soils, ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES Volume: 54 Pages: 181-190 Published: APR 2013
Schaffer, Mario; Kroeger, Kerrin Franziska; Noedler, Karsten; et al. Influence of a compost layer on the attenuation of 28 selected organic micropollutants under realistic soil aquifer treatment conditions: Insights from a large scale column experiment, WATER RESEARCH Volume: 74 Pages: 110-121 Published: MAY 1 2015
Valhondo, Cristina; Carrera, Jesus; Ayora, Carlos; et al., Characterizing redox conditions and monitoring attenuation of selected pharmaceuticals during artificial recharge through a reactive layer, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT Volume: 512 Pages: 240-250 Published: APR 15 2015
Valhondo, Cristina; Carrera, Jesus; Ayora, Carlos; et al., Behavior of nine selected emerging trace organic contaminants in an artificial recharge system supplemented with a reactive barrier, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH Volume: 21 Issue: 20 Pages: 11832-11843 Published: OCT 2014