Glass, J., Junghanns, R., Schlick, R., Stefan, C. (2021) 
Implementation of a new framework for real-time monitoring and modelling of subsurface processes at a pilot managed aquifer recharge site in Pirna, Germany. Presentation at the 48th Congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists. Brussels, Belgium, 6-10 September 2021


 

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) represents a viable technique for sustainable groundwater management. Nevertheless, the absence of proper monitoring and the lack of data on associated risks at some MAR facilities, reduces the public trust and raises questions about the impact of MAR on the affected ecosystem as well as hinders the optimal operation. Thus, an efficient control of the recharge and recovery processes incorporating real-time data while reducing the environmental and economic risks could optimize the performance of MAR systems. The main objective of the EU-funded WaterJPI project SMART-Control is hence to reduce the risks in the application of sustainable groundwater management techniques through the development and implementation of an innovative web-based, real-time monitoring and control system (RMCS) in combination with risk assessment and management tools.

As a first step, the RMCS at the pilot MAR site in Pirna, Germany was installed and setup. The monitoring sensors measuring e.g. electrical conductivity, water level and temperature in the groundwater, were connected to a webserver (SensoWeb, UIT company). From there, the data is send to the web-based INOWAS platform (www.inowas.com), a free online service where various empirical, analytical and numerical tools are compiled for MAR assessment. On the INOWAS platform, new features and tools have been developed and implemented including data pre-processing, time series manipulation, value processing and visualisation that foster the real-time monitoring and help to assess operational risks of MAR schemes such as high electrical conductivities (saline intrusion) or water level fluctuations.

As a second step, the processed time series can be further used, e.g. to analyze the hydraulic residence time in the aquifer or as input for a (real-time) numerical groundwater flow model. The incorporation of real-time monitoring data into the web-based numerical modelling scheme was subsequently tested. Although the numerical model run is currently manually started by visiting the INOWAS website, the automated incorporation of new monitoring data as boundary conditions or observation points is promising to evaluate the underground processes in almost real-time. This could foster the actualisation of numerical models which are frequently only updated on an irregular basis.

The results indicate that the developed tools help to analyze the relevant processes occurring during MAR operation reducing the risks associated with MAR and enables the up-to-date diagnostic for operators, regulators and water managers. The developed tools are currently tested and enhanced at five additional pilot and full-scale MAR schemes in Germany, France, Brazil and Cyprus.