Infilterability Reduction of Artificial Recharge of Groundwater System in a Desert in the Absence of Sowbugs

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Research Scientist, Gorgan Research Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources

2 Associate Prof. in Sari University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Watershed Management.

3 Prof., Sari University of Agriculture and natural Resources

4 Senior Research Scientist of Fars Research Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources

5 Associate Professor, Sari University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Abstract

Floodwater spreading for the artificial recharge of groundwater (ARG) is a logical alternative to build large dams for water resources management in dry environments so that it not only enhances water security, but also reclaims the degraded land due to the settlement of suspended load on the spreaders. However, translocation of very fine clay minerals existing in floodwater decreases the infiltration capacity of sedimentation basins (SB) and recharge ponds which eventually terminate their useful life.  Although root channels facilitate infiltration and particularly percolation, crust formation substantially decreases the infiltration rate. As the role of a sowbug (Hemilepistus shirazi Schuttz) in enhancing the infiltrability has been previously reported, its absence had to be assessed too. Thus, the main objective of this research was to monitor the infiltration rate (IR) changes in the research plots devoid of the sowbug burrows in 3 SBs out of 6 ones in the Bisheh Zard1 ARG system in Gareh Bygone Plain (GBP) located in the southeast of Fars province applying the double ring method at constant hydraulic head during a 15 year operation. Each of those SBs was divided into three equal sections. One raised part in each section which had not been covered by floodwater was selected as the control. Results indicated that infiltrability after 15 years had decreased from 10.33 cm/h to 2.16, 2.49 and 7.47 cm/h in the first, second and third SBs, respectively. The largest decrease in infiltrability occurred in the upstream SB and the lowest one in the downstream SB. The volume of floodwater received by each SB and therefore, the volume of the settled suspended load depend on its location, the flow rate and duration of flooding. The ARG systems in the GBP are still functioning satisfactorily since 1983.

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