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Impact of irrigation scenarios and precipitation projections on the groundwater resources of Viannos Basin at the island of Crete, Greece

Varouchakis, Emmanouil A., Karatzas, George P., Giannopoulos, George P.
Environmental earth sciences 2015 v.73 no.11 pp. 7359-7374
aquifers, basins, climate change, computer software, groundwater, groundwater flow, humans, hydrologic models, irrigation, temperature, water table, wells, Crete, Greece, Mediterranean region
Recent climate change studies for the Mediterranean region have projected the near future temperature and precipitation trends. The increasing water demands for human consumption and agricultural purposes, as well as the potential overexploitation of the groundwater resources, in combination with the climatic projections are expected to affect the groundwater resources of the Mediterranean hydrological basins. This work focuses on the Viannos alluvial basin at the island of Crete, Greece. It considers primarily the increasing water demands for irrigation in the area of interest and the projected precipitation trend in the next five hydrological years for the island of Crete. The groundwater system is simulated based on the current hydrological/hydrogeological conditions of the basin and based on anticipated hydrological events. Scenarios concerning future precipitation trends and pumping schemes at existing wells are examined to assess the near-future stresses on the basin groundwater resources. Groundwater flow modeling is performed using the Visual Modflow software. Based on the study of different scenarios modeling results show that the aquifer is primarily affected during the dry period of the hydrological year. However, sufficiently replenishment is observed during the wet period as the highest water table drop is 0.65 m at the end of the 5 years modelling period. Therefore, the aquifer is not expected to face serious problems in the near future from the increased irrigation demands and from the short-term projected precipitation trends. Simulations for 10 and 20-year periods following the precipitation projections and the specified pumping schemes also show that the aquifer resources are not expected to be significantly affected.