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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-555
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Oct 2017

Research article | 04 Oct 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Hydrofacies reconstruction of glaciofluvial aquifers and groundwater flow modelling in a densely urbanized area under changing climatic conditions

Mattia De Caro, Giovanni B. Crosta, Paolo Frattini, Roberta Perico, and Giorgio Volpi Mattia De Caro et al.
  • DISAT – Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza, 4, Milan 20126, Italy

Abstract. Potential impacts of global climate changes on the groundwater are largely unknown, especially for densely populated areas where groundwater is heavily exploited for public and industrial supply. Hence, to better plan and manage the groundwater resources, medium-long term numerical modelling of groundwater flow, which takes into account climate change, population growth, and industrial and agricultural activities, is needed. The objective of this paper is to tackle three main issues: (1) the development of a robust hydro-stratigraphic model of a multi-aquifer system from a well logs database by means of a novel multi-dimensional approach which includes a hierarchical classification of the lithologies, the interpretation of cross-sections, and the interpolation of aquifer boundary surfaces; (2) the parametrization and calibration of both a steady state and a transient groundwater flow model, starting from empirical relationships (for unconfined aquifer) and step-drawdown and well tests (for semi-confined and confined aquifers) to define equivalent homogenous sub-units; and (3) the simulation of steady state and transient scenarios based on projections about global climate change and variation in abstraction and recharge rates. These issues are illustrated for the Milan metropolitan area (Northern Italy) and the conterminous Po Plain portion. The results of the model allow to analyse the major components of the regional groundwater system (i.e. public supply wells withdrawals, discharge to gaining rivers and springs, recharge from irrigation networks and vegetated areas, flow transfer between aquifers). The groundwater level rising observed in the last decades caused serious problems in the urban areas and a progressive increase in the base-flow towards the gaining rivers. Simulations including effects of future climate scenarios (2017–2030) indicate a further increase in groundwater level in the next decades at a lower rate (ca. 0.3m/year) with respect to that of the 1970–2016 period (ca. 1m/year), due to the combined action of decreasing withdrawals and recharge.

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Mattia De Caro et al.
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Mattia De Caro et al.
Mattia De Caro et al.
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Short summary
Potential impacts of climate changes on groundwater are evaluated for the Adda-Ticino area (Milan province, northern Italy) where groundwater resources are heavily exploited for public and industrial supply. The presented approach to generate a hydrostratigraphic model and to set and calibrate a numerical model, can be applied to other densely populated areas to better plan and manage the groundwater resources in the medium-long term under changing climatic condition.
Potential impacts of climate changes on groundwater are evaluated for the Adda-Ticino area...
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