Effects of Unloading Groundwater on Aquifer Sorage and Water Availability

Excessive groundwater withdrawal has long been known to cause soil subsidence [1]. Northern China is increasingly exploiting its water resources, fueled by decades of vigorous food self-sufficiency efforts [2]. Large areas of groundwater depletion cone and land subsidence are related with exceptional water resource mining in this agro-politically sensitive region [3]. However, studies in the region on water storage depletion and/or land subsidence are mostly statistical and fragmentary [3,4]. The anomaly trends in GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) and InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite observations, GLDAS (Global Land Data Assimilation System) model products, and measured groundwater depth data are used to estimate crustal unloading-controlled land deformation in this study. For the study period of 2002 to 2009, estimated land subsidence was 17.74.7 cm, which is the equivalent of 13.60.3 mm in groundwater storage loss or 104.6 mm in aquifer depletion, based on the average specific yield of 0.13. Annual storage depletion is estimated at 63.89.3 mm (53.87.8 km3) for total water storage, 58.35.3 mm (49.64.5 km3) for groundwater storage, and 3.40.6 mm (2.80.5 km3) for soil water storage for the 843 000 km2 research area. The expected overall water storage depletion exceeds the South-North Water Diversion Project’s projected yearly water delivery of 45 km3 in 2050. Water storage depletion, in combination with ground subsidence in the region, might have negative consequences for the country’s agricultural, industrial, socioeconomic, and political stability. It is vital for farmers and other stakeholders to implement effective water conservation techniques. To replenish local water resources, such initiatives should be accompanied with the tapping of alternate water sources (such as the South-North Water Diversion Project). Such measures not only prevent future pumping-related problems and disruptions in food production, supply, and security, but also maintain stable socioeconomic growth.

Author(S) Details

Juana P. Moiwo
Department of Agricultural Engineering, School of Technology, Njala University, Njala Campus, Sierra Leone.

Yahaya K. Kawa
Department of Chemistry, School of Environmental Sciences, Njala University, Njala Campus, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Alhaji M. H. Conteh
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, School of Technology, Njala University, Njala Campus, Sierra Leone.

John P. Kaisam
Department of Chemistry, School of Environmental Sciences, Njala University, Njala Campus, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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