Articles | Volume 19, issue 10
Research article
16 Oct 2015
Research article |  | 16 Oct 2015

Coupled modeling approach to assess climate change impacts on groundwater recharge and adaptation in arid areas

H. Hashemi, C. B. Uvo, and R. Berndtsson

Abstract. The effect of future climate scenarios on surface and groundwater resources was simulated using a modeling approach for an artificial recharge area in arid southern Iran. Future climate data for the periods of 2010–2030 and 2030–2050 were acquired from the Canadian Global Coupled Model (CGCM 3.1) for scenarios A1B, A2, and B1. These scenarios were adapted to the studied region using the delta-change method. A conceptual rainfall–runoff model (Qbox) was used to simulate runoff in a flash flood prone catchment. The model was calibrated and validated for the period 2002–2011 using daily discharge data. The projected climate variables were used to simulate future runoff. The rainfall–runoff model was then coupled to a calibrated groundwater flow and recharge model (MODFLOW) to simulate future recharge and groundwater hydraulic heads. As a result of the rainfall–runoff modeling, under the B1 scenario the number of floods is projected to slightly increase in the area. This in turn calls for proper management, as this is the only source of fresh water supply in the studied region. The results of the groundwater recharge modeling showed no significant difference between present and future recharge for all scenarios. Owing to that, four abstraction and recharge scenarios were assumed to simulate the groundwater level and recharge amount in the studied aquifer. The results showed that the abstraction scenarios have the most substantial effect on the groundwater level and the continuation of current pumping rate would lead to a groundwater decline by 18 m up to 2050.

Short summary
In order to evaluate the future water availability in an artificial recharge area located in arid Iran, different climate and water management scenarios were applied. This was done through the simulation of surface water and groundwater by numerical modeling. The results showed that the pumping scenarios have the most substantial effect on groundwater level and continuation of current pumping rate would lead to a total depletion of the aquifer in the upcoming decade.