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A hydrological simulation of the water regime in two playa lakes located in southern Spain

Miguel, Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Malte, Schilling
Journal of earth system science 2014 v.123 no.6 pp. 1295-1305
plantations, evapotranspiration, lakes, Earth system science, models, aquifers, olives, playas, environmental impact, runoff, groundwater, Spain
The subject of this paper is the detailed hydrological simulation of two playa lakes located in southern Spain from January 2011 to March 2012 on a daily basis. These playas are placed over a 400-km ² shallow aquifer, which is exposed to an increasing stress caused by agricultural activities, mainly olive grove plantations. The objective of the paper is to elaborate a detailed numeric model that simulates the water regime of each playa lake on a daily scale. The simulation is compared to measured water level (WL) data of the playas in order to characterize the groundwater–surface interactions. The ultimate objective of this paper is to assess the environmental impact of the increasing anthropogenic water consumption within the area of research. The results of the GW–surface interaction were very consistent with previous works. One of the playa lakes is groundwater-dependent and the other one is presumably a perched playa lake. The GW discharge of the former playa (214 mm) during the research period stands in sharp contrast to no regional GW discharge in the latter. Water level data prove that the hydrological year (2011–2012) had a very negative water budget. The evapotranspiration estimation was almost as high as double the sum of the precipitation, the run-off, and the groundwater discharge. The simulation of an anthropologically altered water regime proves that water retrieval has a harmful impact on the WL of the playa lakes as well as on the aquifer.