Geologica Belgica

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Marc VAN CAMP, Mahdi Radfar, Kristine MARTENS & Kristine WALRAEVENS

Analysis of the groundwater resource decline in an intramountain aquifer system in Central Iran

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Mots-clés : groundwater, exploitation, Iran, sustainability

Abstract

The Shahrekord aquifer is located in an intramountain basin in Central Iran (90 km SW of Isfahan) and is the main resource of irrigation water for the intensively developed agriculture in the Shahrekord Plain. Early exploitation of the aquifer started back around 1950 but has intensified severely during the last decades. Irrigation water is provided by three means: spring water is tapped, water is pumped from around 650 wells and in historic times more than 100 karizes (or ghanats, deep underground channels that drain the water table and are accessed by shafts) were constructed and provide an additional source of water. However, groundwater levels have declined severely during the last decade, and although systematic piezometric monitoring already started in 1984, it stayed unclear whether the declining trend is related to increased water demand and exploitation or is due to climatic reasons, as around 2000 a severe drought lasted for three years. In this paper, exploitation and precipitation data are combined with the measured piezometric levels to analyse their relationship and help to understand the observed trend in declining groundwater storage. This aquifer is an example of a system that can easily deliver large amounts of groundwater because of a high transmissivity and considerable thickness, but has, for climatic reasons, a limited recharge. This imbalance makes the present level of exploitation unsustainable.

To cite this article

Marc VAN CAMP, Mahdi Radfar, Kristine MARTENS & Kristine WALRAEVENS, «Analysis of the groundwater resource decline in an intramountain aquifer system in Central Iran», Geologica Belgica [En ligne], volume 15 (2012), number 3, 176-180 URL : http://popups.ulg.ac.be/1374-8505/index.php?id=3644.

About: Marc VAN CAMP

Ghent University, Laboratory for Applied Geology and Hydrogeology, Krijslaan 281, S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium E-mail: Marc.VanCamp@ugent.be

About: Mahdi Radfar

Shahrekord University, Department of Water Engineering, Saman Road, Shahrekord, Iran

About: Kristine MARTENS

Ghent University, Laboratory for Applied Geology and Hydrogeology, Krijslaan 281, S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

About: Kristine WALRAEVENS

Ghent University, Laboratory for Applied Geology and Hydrogeology, Krijslaan 281, S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium