Analysis of the long-term effects of groundwater extraction on the water balance in part of the Urucuia Aquifer System in Bahia - Brazil

Leanize Teixeira Oliveira, Harald Klammler, Luiz Rogério Bastos Leal, Eduardo Moussale Grissolia


In agricultural regions where there is insufficient rainwater for cultivation, understanding the dynamics of surface water and groundwater is critical to assess the impact of increased well pumping on the water balance. The western region of the state of Bahia-Brazil, the largest area of agribusiness in the state, has experienced progressive occupation since the 1980s, resulting in pressure on water resources - mainly after the introduction of irrigation - and conflicts among water users. This study analyzed the effects of groundwater extraction by wells in a portion of the Urucuia Aquifer System. The methodology used was the simulation of groundwater flow in steady-state for three scenarios: i) without withdrawal of water by pumping wells; (ii) with current withdrawal rates; and (iii) with 60% additional extraction. After defining well production rates from field surveys (4.6 m3 s-1) and modeling of the aquifer base geometry (maximum thickness of 535 m), the steady-state models with and without pumping show that, in the long term, groundwater storage decreases by 2 km3 (0.8 m on average in the aquifer) without interference in the regional flow direction. The mass balance shows that the base flow of the main rivers is reduced by approximately 6% after current groundwater extraction and an additional 2.5% after additional extraction. The results point to a greater impact on surface water caused by a reduction in groundwater storage and related river base flow. This indicates the importance of maintaining and expanding the groundwater-level monitoring network.


base flow, numerical flow simulation, steady state.


Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X DOI:10.4136/1980-993X

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