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Delineation of Source Protection Zones Using Statistical Methods

Stauffer, F., Guadagnini, A., Butler, A., Hendricks Franssen, H.J., Wiel, N. van de, Bakr, M., Riva, M., Guadagnini, L.
Water resources management 2005 v.19 no.2 pp. 163-185
wellhead protection, groundwater, wells, statistical analysis, stochastic processes, estimation, hydrologic models, water resources, aquifers
Source protection zones are increasingly important for securing the long-term viability of drinking water derived from groundwater resources. These may be either time-related capture zones or catchments related to the activity of a pumping well or spring. The establishment of such zones is an indispensable measure for the proper assessment of groundwater resource vulnerability and reduction of risk, which may be induced by human activities. The delineation of these protection zones is usually performed with the aid of models, which are in turn based on site-specific information of the aquifers' geometry, hydraulic parameters and boundary conditions. Owing to the imperfect knowledge of such information, predicting the location of these zones is inherently uncertain. It is possible to quantify this uncertainty in a statistical manner through the development of probability maps, which shows the probability that a particular surface location belongs to the aquifers' capture zone (or catchment area). This publication aims at the investigation of the requirements for the establishment of probabilistic source protection zones, the practical use of stochastic methods in their delineation, and the use of data-assimilation for uncertainty reduction. It also provides a methodology for the implementation of these methods by modelling practitioners.