Application of a water balance model for estimating deep infiltration in a karstic watershed

Rodrigo de Arruda Camargo, Eduardo de Aguiar do Couto, Luna Gripp Simões Alves, Maria Lúcia Calijuri, Marcos Dornelas Freitas Machado e Silva


The current scenario of water scarcity evidences the need for an adequate management of water resources. In karstic regions, the water flow through fractures significantly increases the water infiltration rate, which explains the small number of rivers and the importance of groundwater for urban supply. Therefore, the water balance is necessary since it may aid decision making processes and guide water management projects. The objective of this paper was to perform the water balance of a watershed situated in a karstic region quantifying infiltration, runoff and evapotranspiration. The study area is located near the Tancredo Neves International Airport in Confins, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Most of the area consists of forest formations (40.9%), and pastures (34.5%). In order to estimate deep infiltration, the BALSEQ model was used. BALSEQ is a numeric model of sequential water balance in which deep infiltration at the end of the day is given by the difference between daily precipitation and the sum of surface runoff, evapotranspiration and the variation of the amount of water stored in the soil. The results show that approximately 60% of total annual precipitation result in deep infiltration, considering the recharge period from September to March. After the dry period, the areas with no vegetal cover present higher deep infiltration. However, over the months, the contribution of the vegetated areas becomes greater, showing the importance of these areas to aquifer recharge.


Water balance; karstic areas; BALSEQ model

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

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