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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-471
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-471
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Nov 2018

Research article | 02 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Monitoring Groundwater Storage Depletion Using Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Data in the Semi-Arid Catchments

Nizar Abou Zaki1, Ali Torabi Haghighi1, Pekka M. Rossi1, Mohammad J. Tourian2, and Bjørn Klove1 Nizar Abou Zaki et al.
  • 1Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research Group, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  • 2Institute of Geodesy, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract. The Bakhtegan catchment, an important agricultural region in south-western Iran, has suffered groundwater depletion in recent years. As groundwater is considered the main source of fresh water in the catchment, especially for agriculture, monitoring groundwater responses to irrigation is important. Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite data can help determine water mass changes in catchments and assess water volume changes, but have been under-used to date in water resources management. In this study, we compared GRACE-derived water mass data against groundwater volume variations measured in situ. We also assessed the efficiency of GRACE-derived data in catchments smaller than the 200,000km2 recommended area when using GRACE. For the study period (January 2002 through December 2011), the GRACE data showed a 7.6mm annual decline in groundwater level, with a total volume loss of 2.6km3 during the period. The in situ monthly measurements of groundwater level showed an average depletion of 10m in catchment aquifers during the study period. This depletion rate was supported by the recorded decrease in precipitation volume, especially in the post-drought period after 2007. These results demonstrate that GRACE can be useful in groundwater resources management of catchments facing groundwater depletion and increasing water demand.

Nizar Abou Zaki et al.
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Nizar Abou Zaki et al.
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Latest update: 19 Nov 2018
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Short summary
Groundwater is considered a main source of fresh water in semi-arid climatic zones, especially for agricultural usage. This study compares in-situ groundwater volume variation measurements with GRACE derived water mass data. The study concludes the possibility of using GRACE data to monitor groundwater depletion in catchments that lack measured data. GRACE data can here help in drawing general conclusions for integrated water resources management, and sustainable usage of this resources.
Groundwater is considered a main source of fresh water in semi-arid climatic zones, especially...
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