Locating suitable sites for the construction of subsurface dams using GIS
Jamali, I.A.; Olofsson, B.; Mortberg, U.
Environmental Earth Sciences 70(6): 2511-2525
ISSN/ISBN: 1866-6280 DOI: 10.1007/s12665-013-2295-1
Subsurface dams constitute an affordable and effective method for the sustainable development and management of groundwater resources when constructed on suitable sites. Such dams have rarely been constructed in crystalline rock areas and to best of our knowledge, geographic information system (GIS) has never been used in any methodology for locating suitable sites for constructing these dams. This paper presents a new methodology to locate suitable sites for the construction of subsurface dams using GIS software supported by groundwater balance modelling in a study area Boda-Kalvsvik, Sweden. Groundwater resources were calculated based on digitized geological data and assumptions regarding stratigraphic layering taken from well archive data and geological maps. These estimates were then compared with future extractions for domestic water supply using a temporally dynamic water balance model. Suitability analyses for subsurface dams were based on calculated topographic wetness index (TWI) values and geological data, including stratigraphic information. Groundwater balance calculations indicated that many of the most populated areas were susceptible to frequent water supply shortages. Of the 34 sub-catchments within the study area: ten were over-extracted, nine did not have any water supply demand at all, one was self-sufficient and the remaining 14 were able to meet the water supply demand with surplus storage capacity. Six suitable sites for the construction of subsurface dams were suggested in the vicinity of the over-extracted sites based on suitability analysis and groundwater balance estimates. The new methodology shows encouraging results for regions with humid climate but having limited natural water storage capacities. The developed methodology can be used as a preliminary planning step for subsurface dam construction, establishing a base for more detailed field investigations.