Hydrometeorological daily recharge assessment model (DREAM) for the Western Mountain Aquifer, Israel: Model application and effects of temporal patterns
Nathan Sheffer, Dafny Elad, Gvirtzman Haim, Navon, Frumkin Amos and Morin Efrat
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Recharge is a critical issue for water management. Recharge assessment and the factors affecting recharge are of scientific and practical importance. The purpose of this study was to develop a daily recharge assessment model (DREAM) on the basis of a water balance principle with input from conventional and generally available precipitation and evaporation data and demonstrate the application of this model to recharge estimation in the Western Mountain Aquifer (WMA) in Israel. The WMA (area 13,000 km2) is a karst aquifer that supplies 360–400 Mm3 yr?1 of freshwater, which constitutes 20% of Israel's freshwater and is highly vulnerable to climate variability and change. DREAM was linked to a groundwater flow model (FEFLOW) to simulate monthly hydraulic heads and spring flows. The models were calibrated for 1987–2002 and validated for 2003–
2007, yielding high agreement between calculated and measured values (R2 = 0.95; relative root?mean?square error = 4.8%; relative bias = 1.04). DREAM allows insights into the effect of intra?annual precipitation distribution factors on recharge. Although annual precipitation amount explains 70% of the variability in simulated recharge, analyses with DREAM indicate that the rainy season length is an important factor controlling recharge. Years with similar annual precipitation produce different recharge values as a result of temporal distribution throughout the rainy season. An experiment with a synthetic data set exhibits similar results, explaining 90% of the recharge variability. DREAM represents significant improvement over previous recharge estimation techniques in this region by providing near?real?time recharge estimates that can be used to predict the impact of climate variability on groundwater resources at high temporal and spatial resolution.
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