A regional-scale groundwater flow model for the Leon-Chinandega aquifer, Nicaragua

Abstract Groundwater flow in the Leon-Chinandega aquifer was simulated using transient and steady-state numerical models. This unconfined aquifer is located in an agricultural plain in northwest Nicaragua. Previous studies were restricted to determining groundwater availability for irrigation,...

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Main Authors: Calderón Palma, Heyddy, Bentley, Laurence R.
Format: Artículo
Language: Español
Español
Published: 2007
Subjects:
Online Access: http://repositorio.unan.edu.ni/2466/
http://repositorio.unan.edu.ni/2466/11/2466.PDF
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Summary: Abstract Groundwater flow in the Leon-Chinandega aquifer was simulated using transient and steady-state numerical models. This unconfined aquifer is located in an agricultural plain in northwest Nicaragua. Previous studies were restricted to determining groundwater availability for irrigation, overlooking the impacts of groundwater development. A sub-basin was selected to study the groundwater flow system and the effects of groundwater development using a numerical groundwater flow model (Visual MODFLOW). Hydrological parameters obtained from pumping tests were related to each hydrostratigraphic unit to assign the distribution of parameter values within each model layer. River discharge measurements were crucial for constraining recharge estimates and reducing the non-uniqueness of the model calibration. Steady-state models have limited usefulness because of the major variation of recharge and agricultural pumping during the wet and dry seasons. Model results indicate that pumping induces a decrease in base flow, depleting river discharge. This becomes critical during dry periods, when irrigation is highest. Transient modeling indicates that the response time of the aquifer is about one hydrologic year, which allows the development of management strategies within short time horizons. Considering further development of irrigated agriculture in the area, the numerical model can be a powerful tool for water resources management