Geophysical and hydrogeologic investigation of groundwater in the ...

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Geophysical and hydrogeologic investigation of groundwater in the ...

946subsuelo poco profundo mientras que TEM es másefectivo en profundidad, se obtiene una imagen másprecisa del total del subsuelo basada en el uso de los dosmétodos. Los resultados sugieren que LCI de los datos deCVES y TEM es capaz de proporcionar una imagen másprecisa del subsuelo en las profundidades necesarias enSawmills que el uso de cada método por separado. Lainterpretación hidrogeológica de los datos geofísicos esvaliosa para determinar la profundidad y el espesor de loshorizontes acuíferos potenciales y para identificar laposición de las potenciales zonas de recarga.Keywords Groundwater exploration .Geophysical methods . Karoo aquifers .Joint inversion . ZimbabweIntroductionZimbabwe is a landlocked country in the south-central partof Africa. Zimbabwe covers an area of 390,000 km 2 and isbordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique.The average annual rainfall is 675 mm, whereas theaverage annual potential evaporation is around 1,800 mm.The southern and western parts of the country areconsiderably drier than the northern and eastern parts, andlarge areas of Zimbabwe are considered to be semi-aridwhere water is sparse. Rain falls in a unimodal rainy seasonextending from November to March. In addition to thelimited amount of rainfall, annual rainfall variability is highand characterized by mid-season droughts.During the 1991–1992 wet season, the most severedrought “in living memory” resulted throughout thecountry. In the most affected areas, 45% of the primarywater resources became dry and water quality degradedappreciably (Ohlsson 1995). From an economic basis,agricultural production was reduced by 40% during thedrought period; 600,000 cattle were put down or diedfrom starvation, and the gross national product decreasedby 12% from the previous year (Nilsson and Hammer1996).The drought defined the fragility of the water supplythroughout Zimbabwe, especially for densely populatedurban centres such as Bulawayo (Fig. 1), the capital cityof the Matabeleland provinces. Stringent water rationingwas introduced in Bulawayo but this rationing was insufficientto alleviate drought conditions. In order to provide asupplementary water supply for the estimated 1,000,000Bulawayo city residents, an emergency well field wasestablished during the height of the drought, when thesurface-water resources for Bulawayo had almost entirelydried up. The well field consists of approximately 60 deepboreholes drilled into the “Nyamandhlovu aquifer” aroundthe small farming town of Nyamandhlovu, approximately45 km northwest of the city. Artesian groundwater has beenknown for many years to be present in this area. Thisgroundwater source was developed for irrigation in the1960s.Hydrogeology Journal (2007) 15: 945–960The established capacity of the emergency well field is27,000 m 3 /day. This capacity represents about 20% ofBulawayo’s daily water demand (SWECO 1996), but thisresource has only been pumped during water-criticalperiods and is not part of Bulawayo’s regular daily watersupply. Anecdotal reports from farmers utilizing irrigationin the Nyamandhlovu area indicate declining groundwaterlevels and increasing water salinity during periods whenthe well field is operating. The well field is operated bythe Bulawayo City Council only during water-criticalperiods.In an attempt to find a long-term solution to the watersupplyproblems in Bulawayo, the Swedish InternationalDevelopment Agency (SIDA) and the Government ofZimbabwe, represented by the Ministry of Local Government,financed an analysis of the established water supply,as well as the development of a water-resource plan tocover the next 25 years (SWECO 1996). The key focus ofthis plan was an investigation into the feasibility ofconstructing and maintaining a pipeline from Bulawayoto the Zambezi River. This pipeline has been sought formany years by the residents of Bulawayo. The pipelinewould be 330 km long to the planned Gwayi-ShanganiDam and then to the Zambezi River; an alternate pipelineroute would be 400 km long directly to the ZambeziRiver.The SWECO study recommended a full investigationinto the feasibility of the possible incremental exploitationof groundwater resources along the planned pipelineroute. Earlier investigations of the sedimentary basin tothe northwest of Bulawayo had shown the possiblepresence of groundwater sources (Bond and MacDonald1962; Dennis and Hineson 1964; MacDonald 1970;Beasley 1987). Because of the controversy surroundingthe use of the Nyamandhlovu well field by Bulawayo, itwas decided to focus the investigations further to thenorthwest and avoid the problems of overpumping ofgroundwater from the Nyamandhlovu well field. TheSWECO study confirmed that substantial groundwaterpotential is present along the pipeline route and the initialoption of utilizing groundwater was expected to beconsiderably less expensive than the option of constructingand maintaining a pipeline, particularly concerning theinitial capital outlays (SWECO 1995; Mkandla 2003).In order to further investigate the groundwater resource,research funding was made available to carry out alimited geophysical/hydrogeological study to investigatethe nature, extent, and potential of utilizing groundwaterin the sedimentary basin for supply to the city ofBulawayo. For practical reasons, the groundwater sourcesclosest to the city of Bulawayo, excluding Nyamandhlovu,were to be investigated first.The overall aims of the full geophysical study were asfollows:– To create preliminary hydrogeological/geophysicalexpectation models for these pre-selected areas– To use a variety of geophysical techniques to generatedata that could provide answers to the key hydro-DOI 10.1007/s10040-007-0191-z

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