Integrating groundwater flux measurements in groundwater modelling of drought adaptation impacts: case study on sub-irrigation of treated wastewater in Kinrooi (Belgium)

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a conference


Flanders (Belgium) experienced recurring intense summer droughts last few years, resulting in low groundwater levels throughout the region. Irrigation using treated domestic wastewater could be an interesting strategy to make agriculture more resilient against drought. Therefore, sub-irrigation with treated domestic wastewater is deployed on an agricultural field in Kinrooi (Belgium) in order to assess the environmental impacts of this water reuse practice.

A numerical groundwater flow and transport model was created to investigate the transport behaviour of the effluent in the subsurface. However, high uncertainties in the inputs, parameters and the conceptual model results in uncertainties on the simulated output. Therefore, novel direct real-time groundwater flux sensors developed by iFLUX will be installed in the field to measure groundwater flow rates and directions, as literature indicates the potential to significantly reduce uncertainties in groundwater models through the incorporation of flux measurements in groundwater flow model calibration. However, the sensor’s measurement volume is much smaller than the larger groundwater model grid size. Therefore, the aim of this research is to investigate how these measurements can be incorporated into groundwater models, taking into account their scale and measurement error.

First, the flux sensors will be deployed at the experimental field at small distances from each other in order to assess local heterogeneity of groundwater fluxes. Then, statistical upscaling methods will be applied in order to bridge this gap in spatial scale. Eventually, the goal is to incorporate these flux measurements in the existing groundwater flow and transport model in rder to assess the impact on model uncertainty and to potentially provide more accurate predictions of impacts of sub-irrigation with treated wastewater on groundwater quantity and quality.
Periode11 sep 202315 sep 2023
EvenementstitelAquaConSoil 2023
LocatiePrague, Czech Republic