Impact of river water levels on the simulation of stream–aquifer exchanges over the Upper Rhine alluvial aquifer (France/Germany) - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles Hydrogeology Journal Year : 2018

Impact of river water levels on the simulation of stream–aquifer exchanges over the Upper Rhine alluvial aquifer (France/Germany)

Impacto de los niveles del agua de los ríos en la simulación de los intercambios entre la corriente y el agua subterránea en el acuífero aluvial del Alto Rin (Francia/Alemania)

Impact des niveaux d’eau de la rivière sur la simulation des échanges nappe–rivière dans l’aquifère alluvial du Haut Rhin (France/Allemagne)

Impactos dos níveis fluviais na simulação e trocas rio–aquíferos sob o aquífero aluvial do Reno Superior (França/Alemanha)

Abstract

This study aims to assess the sensitivity of river level estimations to the stream-aquifer exchanges within a hydrogeological model of the Upper Rhine alluvial aquifer (France/Germany), characterized as a large shallow aquifer with numerous hydro-power dams. Two specific points are addressed: errors associated with digital elevation models (DEMs) and errors associated with the estimation of river level. The fine-resolution raw Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission dataset is used to assess the impact of the DEM uncertainties. Specific corrections are used to overcome these uncertainties: a simple moving average is applied to the topography along the rivers and additional data are used along the Rhine River to account for the numerous dams. Then, the impact of the river-level temporal variations is assessed through two different methods based on observed rating curves and on the Manning formula. Results are evaluated against observation data from 37 river-level points located over the aquifer, 190 piezometers, and a spatial database of wetlands. DEM uncertainties affect the spatial variability of the stream-aquifer exchanges by inducing strong noise and unrealistic peaks. The corrected DEM reduces the biases between observations and simulations by 22 and 51% for the river levels and the river discharges, respectively. It also improves the agreement between simulated groundwater overflows and observed wetlands. Introducing river-level time variability increases the stream-aquifer exchange range and reduces the piezometric head variability. These results confirm the need to better assess river levels in regional hydrogeological modeling, especially for applications in which stream-aquifer exchanges are important.

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Earth Sciences
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Dates and versions

hal-03651429 , version 1 (25-04-2022)

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Jean-Pierre Vergnes, Florence Habets. Impact of river water levels on the simulation of stream–aquifer exchanges over the Upper Rhine alluvial aquifer (France/Germany). Hydrogeology Journal, 2018, 26 (7), pp.2443-2457. ⟨10.1007/s10040-018-1788-0⟩. ⟨hal-03651429⟩
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