Modelling Seasonal Groundwater Flow Dynamics in the Poyang Lake Core Region

  • Erik NixdorfEmail author
Part of the Terrestrial Environmental Sciences book series (TERENVSC)


An exceptional example of a highly dynamic lake-river-wetland system is Poyang Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake of China. Poyang Lake is characterized by its variations in water level of more than 10 m between dry and wet seasons forming a unique system of water areas, wetlands and mudflats. The spatial-temporal dependence of exchange processes between groundwater and surface water in the system was assessed by numerical groundwater flow modelling. A groundwater flow model representing the conditions in the Poyang Lake Core Region was set up using the FEM code OpenGeoSys. Different boundary conditions were obtained from satellite images and monitoring stations to simulate the groundwater flow field and to quantify water balances for dry and wet season separately. Numerical particle tracking was applied to reveal the flow paths length and travel times for subsurface water interacting with Poyang Lake. The results showed that flow field parameters significantly depend on the season and the corresponding surface area of Poyang Lake. During wet season, simulated average subsurface water levels and flow velocities were higher than during dry season. Subsurface water draining to Poyang Lake originated either from Poyang Lake itself forming hyporheic flow paths or from the floodplain lakes in the wetland area as well as from the regional groundwater system. The number of hyporheic flow paths increased with lower water levels in Poyang Lake, which has consequences on the degradation potential of surface water pollutants in the wetlands. Although losing and gaining conditions are both present at its shoreline, the total amount of subsurface discharge into Poyang Lake quantified by the groundwater flow model is positive with 85.69 m\(^{3}/s\) during the wet and 38.76 m\(^{3}/s\) during the dry season. Sensitivity analysis showed that the amount of future groundwater discharge to Poyang Lake depends on anthropogenic activities such as sand dredging and land reclamation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzigGermany

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