Assessing the use of harvested greenhouse runoff for managed aquifer recharge to improve groundwater status in South Portugal

Abstract

Concentration of nitrates in groundwater at the Nitrate Vulnerable zone of Faro, south Portugal, reaches values as high as 300 mg/l; therefore, according to the EU Water Framework Directive, mitigation measures need to be implemented. A Managed Aquifer Recharge scheme is proposed to accelerate the dilution and natural discharge of nitrates from the system. Source water availability is estimated from rainfall intercepted at existing greenhouses. Within the highest nitrate concentration area, estimated water availability for injection in existing wells is 1.50 hm3/year, a significant volume which represents approximately 15% of the aquifer direct recharge. It is proposed this is recharged to the aquifer through existing large-diameter traditional wells that are no longer used for abstraction. Injection test results suggest that the likely infiltration capacity of such wells is more than sufficient to allow collection of 95% of daily rainfall events. The effect of injecting this volume in the aquifer was estimated with the support of a 3D numerical groundwater flow and transport model. Results show considerable improvement in nitrate concentrations in the study area, in certain locations decreasing up to 70 mg/l by 2027. The model results predict a decrease in the number of nitrate threshold exceedances in observation points, from 33 to 30 by 2027 and 14 to 9 by 2040. It is likely that this measure may have a positive effect on other issues identified in the area, mostly related with quantity problems and seawater intrusion. Notwithstanding, issues including landowner support, clogging, conditions of greenhouses and wells, water quality, and climate change impacts will require further consideration to develop a successful and beneficial MAR scheme.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

(Adapted from Hugman (2016))

Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study regarding historical nitrate concentration and groundwater levels are openly available at the Portuguese database of national information of water resources (snirh.pt). Rainfall used in this study is openly available at the Algarve Regional Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (http://www.drapalgarve.gov.pt/ema/emas.htm). Additional data on groundwater levels and nitrate concentration used in this project was obtained during FP7/2007‐2013 619120 MARSOL Project and by the lead author with the support of PhD grant SFRH/BD/131568/2017 funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.

References

  1. Abdulla FA, Al-Shareef AW (2009) Roof rainwater harvesting systems for household water supply in Jordan. Desalination 243:195–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2008.05.013

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Almeida CC (1985) Hidrogeologia do Algarve Central. Dissertation, Faculdade de Cieências, Universidade Lisboa

  3. Almeida CC, Mendonça JL, Jesus MR, Gomes AJ (2000) Sistemas Aquíferos de Portugal Continental. INAG, Instituto da Água Lisboa. Lisboa, Relatório

    Google Scholar 

  4. APA (2016) Plano de Gestão das Bacias Hidrograficas que Integram a Região Hidrográfica das Ribeiras do Algarve (RH8) (River Basin Management Plan for the Hidrografic Region of the Algarve Streams(RH8)). Faro, Portugal

    Google Scholar 

  5. Ashraful A, Islam M (2015) A Study on Rain Water Harvesting and Comparative Cost Analysis with Withdrawal of Underground Water around Gazipur City. J Environ Sci Nat Resour 8:91–94. https://doi.org/10.3329/jesnr.v8i1.24678

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Beckers B, Berking J, Schütt B (2013) Ancient Water Harvesting Methods in the Drylands of the Mediterranean and Western Asia. J Anc Stud 2:145–164

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bouwer H (2002) Artificial recharge of groundwater: hydrogeology and engineering. Hydrogeol J 10:121–142. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-001-0182-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Carvalho MR, Zeferino J, Silva C, et al (2017) Metodologia para avaliação da evolução da qualidade das massas de água subterrâneas nas zonas vulneráveis aos nitratos de origem agrícola no âmbito da diretiva nitratos e diretiva quadro da água. Lisboa

  9. Casanova J, Evau N, Pettenati M (2016) Managed aquifer recharge: an overview of issues and options. In: Jakeman AJ, Barreteau O, Hunt RJ, et al. (eds) Integrated groundwater management. Springer, Cham, pp 416–434

    Google Scholar 

  10. CCDR-Alg (2007) Population served by wastewater drainage and treatment facilities

  11. Costa L, Monteiro JP, Leitão T, et al (2015) Estimating harvested rainwater at greenhouses in south Portugal aquifer Campina de Faro for potential infiltration in Managed Aquifer Recharge . In: EGU General Assembly 2015. Copernicus GmbH, Vienna, Austria, p 10415

  12. Diamantino C (2009) Recarga artificial de aquíferos:aplicação ao sistema aquífero da Campina de Faro. Dissertation, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa

  13. Diersch HJG (2014) FEFLOW: finite element modeling of flow, mass and heat transport in porous and fractured media. Springer, Berlin

  14. Dillon P (2005) Future management of aquifer recharge. Hydrogeol J 13:313–316. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-004-0413-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Dillon P, Pavelic P, Page D, et al (2009) Managed aquifer recharge : an introduction. Waterlines Report Series No. 13, National Water Commission. Canberra

  16. Dillon P, Stuyfzand P, Grischek T et al (2019) Sixty years of global progress in managed aquifer recharge. Hydrogeol J 27:1–30. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-018-1841-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Doherty J (2002) Model-Independent Parameter Estimation, 4th edn. Watermark Numerical Computing

  18. Domènech L, Saurí D (2011) A comparative appraisal of the use of rainwater harvesting in single and multi-family buildings of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (Spain): social experience, drinking water savings and economic costs. J Clean Prod 19:598–608. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2010.11.010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Dwivedi SN, Shukla RR, Singh R, et al (2015) Determining the recharging capacity of an injection well in a semi-confined alluvial aquifer. Curr Sci 109:1177–1181. https://doi.org/10.18520/v109/i6/1177-1181

  20. Gale I (2005) Strategies for Managed Aquifer Recharge ( MAR ) in semi-arid areas. United Nations Educational, Scientifi c and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris

    Google Scholar 

  21. Gale IN, Neumann I, Calow RC, Moenich M (2002) The effectiveness of Artificial Recharge of groundwater : a review. Keyworth, Nottingham

    Google Scholar 

  22. Hashemi H, Berndtsson R, Persson M (2014) Artificial recharge by floodwater spreading estimated by water balances and groundwater modelling in arid Iran. Hydrol Sci J 60:336–350. https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2014.881485

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hugman R (2016) Numerical Approaches to Simulate Groundwater Flow and Transport in Coastal Aquifers – From Regional Scale Management to Submarine Groundwater Discharge. Dissertation, Universidade do Algarve

  24. Hugman R, Stigter T, Costa L, Monteiro JP (2017) Modeling Nitrate-contaminated Groundwater Discharge to the Ria Formosa Coastal Lagoon (Algarve, Portugal). Procedia Earth Planet Sci 17:650–653. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Jones MP, Hunt WF (2010) Performance of rainwater harvesting systems in the southeastern United States. Resour Conserv Recycl 54:623–629. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2009.11.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Kim Y, Lee B (2013) MAR for Sustainable Water Curtain Cultivation Method in Rural Area. In: 8th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR8). Beijing, China

  27. Kim Y, Lee B, Ha K, et al (2013) Groundwater level deterioration issues and suggested solution for the water curtain cultivation area in South Korea. In: EGU General Assembly 2013. Vienna

  28. Leitão T, Lobo-Ferreira JP, Carvalho T, et al (2015) MARSOL : demonstrating managed aquifer recharge as a solution to water scarcity and drought. In: 10.o Semin. sobre Águas Subterrâneas, APRH. Évora, Portugal, p 4

  29. Leote C, Ibánhez JS, Rocha C (2008) Submarine groundwater discharge as a nitrogen source to the Ria Formosa studied with seepage meters. Biogeochemistry 88:185–194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-008-9204-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Loureiro NS, Coutinho MA (1995) Rainfall changes and rainfall erosivity increase in the Algarve (Portugal). CATENA 24:55–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/0341-8162(94)00026-B

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Malta E, Stigter TY, Pacheco A et al (2017) Effects of External nutrient sources and extreme weather events on the nutrient budget of a Southern European Coastal Lagoon. Estuaries Coasts 40:419–436. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-016-0150-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Manupella G (1992) Notícia Explicativa da Carta geológica da região do Algarve (escala 1/100000) [Explanatory note of geological map of the Algarve region]. Serviços Geológicos de Portugal, Lisboa

    Google Scholar 

  33. Martin R (2013) Clogging Issues Associated with Managed Aquifer Recharge Methods. IAH Commis, IAH Commission on Managing Aquifer Recharge, Australia

    Google Scholar 

  34. Missimer TM, Maliva RG, Ghaffour N et al (2014) Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) economics for wastewater reuse in low population wadi communities, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Water (Switz) 6:2322–2338. https://doi.org/10.3390/w6082322

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Monteiro JP (2006) Mudanças no uso, gestão e conhecimento da água na segunda metade do século xx – o caso do algarve. In: 5° congresso Ibérico sobre Gestão e Planeamento da Água. Fundação Nova Cultura da Água. Faro, Dezembro de 2006. p 10pp

  36. Monteiro JP, Costa M, Martins R, Oliveira A (2006) Estudo das Potencialidades de Reutilização de Águas residuais na Região do Algarve – Caracterização da Procura. Relatório Técnico Hidroprojecto & Universidade do Algarve

  37. Nicolau R (2002) Modelação e mapeamento da distribuição espacial da precipitação – Uma aplicação a Portugal Continental (Modeling and mapping of the spatial distribution of rainfall). Ph.D. thesis, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon

  38. Pyne RDG (1995) Groundwater recharge and wells: a guide to aquifer storage recovery. CRC Press, Lewis Publishers, Florida, Boca Raton

    Google Scholar 

  39. Quelhas dos Santos J (1991) Fertilização - Fundamentos da utilização dos adubos e correctivos [Fertilisation: Fundamentals of the utilisation of fertilisers and correctors] m Martins, Portugal, 1991; 441 pp. Francisco Lyon de Castro, Publ. Europa- América, Mem Martins, Portugal, In Portuguese

    Google Scholar 

  40. Rivett MO, Buss SR, Morgan P et al (2008) Nitrate attenuation in groundwater: a review of biogeochemical controlling processes. Water Res 42:4215–4232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2008.07.020

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Silva AV, Portugal A, Feitas L (1986) Modelo de Fluxo Subterrâneo e Salinização dos Aquíferos Costeiros entre Faro e Fuseta [Groundwater and salinization model of the coastal aquifers between Faro and Fuseta]. Comun dos Serviços Geológicos Port 72:71–87

    Google Scholar 

  42. Silva M (1988) Hidrogeologia do Miocénico do Algarve [Hydrogeology of the Miocene of the Algarve]. PhD Thesis, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

  43. Stefan C, Ansems N (2018) Web-based global inventory of managed aquifer recharge applications. Springer, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  44. Stigter T (2005) Integrated Analysis of Hydrogeochemistry and Assessment of Groundwater Contamination Induced by Agricultural Practices. PhD thesis, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal

  45. Stigter TY, Carvalho Dill AMM, Ribeiro L, Reis E (2006a) Impact of the shift from groundwater to surface water irrigation on aquifer dynamics and hydrochemistry in a semi-arid region in the south of Portugal. Agric Water Manag 85:121–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2006.04.004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Stigter TY, Carvalho Dill AMM, Malta E, Santos R (2013) Nutrient sources for green macroalgae in the Ria Formosa lagoon – assessing the role of groundwater. In: Groundwater and Ecosystems. CRC Press, pp 153–167

  47. Stigter TY, Carvalho Dill AMM, Ribeiro L (2011) Major issues regarding the efficiency of monitoring programs for nitrate contaminated groundwater. Environ Sci Technol 45:8674–8682. https://doi.org/10.1021/es201798g

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Stigter TY, Ribeiro L, Dilla AMMC (2006b) Evaluation of an intrinsic and a specific vulnerability assessment method in comparison with groundwater salinisation and nitrate contamination levels in two agricultural regions in the south of Portugal. Hydrogeol J 14:79–99. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-004-0396-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Terrinha P (1998) Structural geology and tectonic evolution of the Algarve Basin, South Portugal. Dissertation, Imperial College, Univ. London

  50. Wick K, Heumesser C, Schmid E (2012) Groundwater nitrate contamination: factors and indicators. J Environ Manag 111:178–186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.06.030

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Zhou Z, Ansems N, Torfs P (2015) A Global Assessment of Nitrate Contamination in Groundwater. Int Groundw Resour Assess Cent 1–27

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente and Direcção Regional de Agricultura e Pescas do Algarve for the institutional support and the elements provided, in particular the land use survey, wells database and rainfall gauging stations data. The authors also thank the constructive comments and suggestions of one anonymous reviewer that helped to improve the manuscript. Luís Costa would like to acknowledge Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia for the PhD grant SFRH/BD/131568/2017.

Funding

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007‐2013) under grant agreement no 619120 (Demonstrating Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Solution to Water Scarcity and Drought – MARSOL) and PhD grant SFRH/BD/131568/2017 awarded to the main author Luís Costa by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Portuguese public agency that supports science, technology and innovation).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by LC, RH and JPM. LC wrote the first draft of the manuscript and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Luis Ricardo Dias da Costa.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

da Costa, L.R.D., Monteiro, J.P.P.G. & Hugman, R.T. Assessing the use of harvested greenhouse runoff for managed aquifer recharge to improve groundwater status in South Portugal. Environ Earth Sci 79, 253 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-020-09003-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Groundwater contamination
  • Nitrate vulnerable zone
  • Recharge wells
  • Numerical modeling
  • Water sensitive design
  • Managed aquifer recharge