Groundwater and Ecosystems by Luís Ribeiro

By Luís Ribeiro

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In both cases these were installed via hand-augered holes to the required depth, with compaction and backfilling of the original substrate in order to line the instruments. These manual groundwater observation piezometers were replicated at different depths at the wetland monitoring stations in order to account for possible phreatic surface stratification (see Fig. 3). Further manual groundwater observation piezometers were installed at other relevant positions within the wetland. Automated monitoring stations recorded soil moisture status and groundwater levels on a 12 minute time-step using a HOBO® 4-channel logger and University of KwaZulu-Natal timing board system.

The redox potential of that groundwater was between 110 and 230 mV, with an arithmetic mean of 190 ± 10 mV (n = 19). 1 mg/l. 4 mg/l NO3 -N is surprisingly high for groundwater originating from a forested area. At Well 12/06 a clear change throughout the study period could be observed, with highest values of approximately 700 µg PO4 -P/l in October and November 2006 and lowest values of approximately 200 µg PO4 -P/l in April and May 2007. Annual fluctuations of the measured soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentrations also occurred in the surface water samples of the River Spree and the oxbow.

According to these values, in sandy parts of the superficial aquifers K values vary between 4 to 50 m/d depending on the grain sizes. Limestone K values vary from 100– 1000 m/d. Recharge to the unconfined aquifer is mainly from rainfall percolation, even though some limited recharge from direct rainfall occurs through the lake system. Rainfall recharge estimations were conducted in a number of studies since 1970 (Davidson, 1995). Groundwater levels within the Yanchep Caves area are on decline due to declining groundwater levels in the Gnangara Groundwater Mound since 1969.

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