Advances in the study and understanding of groundwater discharge to surface water

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Groundwater discharge is vitally important for maintaining or restoring valuable ecosystems in surface water and at the underlying groundwater-surface-water ecotone. Detecting and quantifying groundwater discharge is challenging because rates of flow can be very small and difficult to measure, exchange is commonly highly heterogeneous both in space and time, and surface-water hydrodynamics can influence the exchange and hinder measurements. Fortunately, a growing number of methods developed during the last several decades has led to advancements in our capabilities to identify and quantify groundwater discharge to surface water, including better use of seepage meters, application of tracers such as heat or isotopes, and improved groundwater-modeling capabilities. This progress has led to coalescence in characterizing the complex mix of hydrological, biological, and chemical processes that occur at the groundwater-surface water interface, along with relevant societal effects. Still, many uncertainties and assumptions show an incomplete knowledge of these processes, including the lack of studies in many regions of the world, insufficient sharing of practical methodologies between scientific disciplines, incomplete understanding of processes and parameters specific to the sediment-water interface, and challenges associated with measuring exchange at multiple scales of time and space.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Advances in the study and understanding of groundwater discharge to surface water
Series title Water
DOI 10.3390/w14111698
Volume 14
Issue 11
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Contributing office(s) WMA - Earth System Processes Division
Description 1698, 5 p.
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