Articles | Volume 16, issue 6
Research article
15 Jun 2012
Research article |  | 15 Jun 2012

Parameterization and quantification of recharge in crystalline fractured bedrocks in Galicia-Costa (NW Spain)

J. R. Raposo, J. Molinero, and J. Dafonte

Abstract. Quantifying groundwater recharge in crystalline rocks presents great difficulties due to the high heterogeneity of the underground medium (mainly, due to heterogeneity in fracture network, which determines hydraulic parameters of the bedrock like hydraulic conductivity or effective porosity). Traditionally these rocks have been considered to have very low permeability, and their groundwater resources have usually been neglected; however, they can be of local importance when the bedrock presents a net of well-developed fractures. The current European Water Framework Directive requires an efficient management of all groundwater resources; this begins with a proper knowledge of the aquifer and accurate recharge estimation. In this study, an assessment of groundwater resources in the Spanish hydrologic district of Galicia-Costa, dominated by granitic and metasedimentary rocks, was carried out. A water-balance modeling approach was used for estimating recharge rates in nine pilot catchments representatives of both geologic materials. These results were cross-validated with an independent technique, i.e. the chloride mass balance (CMB). A relation among groundwater recharge and annual precipitation according to two different logistic curves was found for both granites and metasedimentary rocks, thus allowing the parameterization of recharge by means of only a few hydrogeological parameters. Total groundwater resources in Galicia-Costa were estimated to be 4427 hm3 yr−1. An analysis of spatial and temporal variability of recharge was also carried out.