Recharge of the Guarani Aquifer System (GAS) in South America is supposed to occur mainly in the outcrop zones, where the GAS appears as an unconfined aquifer (10% of the 1.2 million km (super 2) aquifer extension). Previous evaluations of recharge are based essentially on water balance estimates for the whole aquifer area or water table fluctuations in monitoring wells. To gain a more detailed understanding of the recharge mechanisms the present work aimed to study the stream aquifer interaction in a watershed (Ribeirao da Onca) at an outcrop zone. Two Parshall flumes were installed 1.3 km apart for discharge measurement in the stream. Along this distance an optic fiber cable was deployed to identify stretches with gaining and losing behavior. In order to estimate groundwater discharge in specific locations, 8 temperature sticks were set up along the stream reach to measure continuously the vertical temperature gradient. A temperature probe with 4 thermistors was also used to map the shallow streambed temperature gradient manually along the whole distance. The obtained results show a discharge difference of approximately 250 m (super 3) /h between both flumes. Since the last significant rainfall (15 mm) in the watershed occurred 3 months ago, this value can be interpreted as the base flow contribution to the stream during the dry season. Given the temperature difference between groundwater ( approximately 24 degrees C) and surface water ( approximately 17 degrees C) the fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing (FO-DTS) allowed the identification of stretches with gaining behavior. Temperature gradients observed at the streambed varied between 0.67 and 14.33 degrees C/m. The study demonstrated that heat may be used as natural tracer even in tropical conditions, where the groundwater temperature is higher than the surface water temperature during the winter. The obtained results show that the discharge difference between both flumes can not be extrapolated without detailed analysis. Gaining and loosing stretches have to be identified on order to estimate total base flow contribution of the watershed. This result is important to correct the water balance of the system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting|
|State||Published - 2017|