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2.1 Introduction
Understanding and characterizing groundwatersurface water
(gw-sw) interactions has emerged over the past few decades as
an important subfeld of hydrology and stream ecology. Prior
to this, groundwater and surface water were generally assessed
as separate domains, except when water resource demands
in one domain imparted pressure on the other. For example,
groundwater well hydraulics relatively near to streams requires
consideration of the stream as a recharging boundary condi-
tion, and intensive pumping can actually modify stream fow
conditions. More recently, the continuity and complexity of
interactions between these hydrologic compartments under
natural conditions have become more apparent. In particular,
the role of gw-sw hydraulics in streams, ofen coupled to ther-
mal regimes and biogeochemical cycling, has been the subject
of many recent investigations related to water resources man-
agement, earth science, and ecosystem assessment (Brunke
and Gonser 1997; Kalbus et al. 2006). In this context, it is clear
that understanding gw-sw interactions is critical to making
well-informed land, water resources, and ecosystem manage-
ment decisions.
Tis chapter focuses on methods for assessing gw-sw dis-
charges at multiple observational scales (Figure 2.1). Empirical
and analytical approaches difer greatly depending on the spatial
and temporal scales of interest. For example, in a water balance
approach, the gw-sw discharge component can sometimes be
inferred as the diference in surface fow between two gaug-
ing stations. However, this discharge is ofen a relatively small
(but signifcant) fraction of the stream fow, and this approach
may be efective only at larger spatial scales. When fner grained
assessment is needed, alternative techniques become necessary,
such as those involving direct in situ discharge measurements or
interpretation of local hydraulic head, temperature, and chemi-
cal tracer gradients. Even with these fner-grained approaches,
clear delineation of gw-sw interactions can be challenging,
depending on both long- and short-term climate factors, stream
stage, and geomorphology. Locally gaining and losing zones, for
example, are possible within the same river reach, and the dis-
tribution of these zones may change seasonally with changes in
river stage, groundwater surface elevations, and other hydraulic
considerations.
Tis chapter begins with a review of key hydraulic principles
governing gw-sw discharges, followed by a description of some
common approaches for assessing these discharges at various
observational scales. Several techniques are presented in more
detail including example applications in order to provide a deeper
understanding of the procedures and potential complications
associated with them. As gw-sw interactions are complex and
remain an active feld of investigation in hydrology, this chapter
2
GroundwaterSurface
Water Discharges
2.1 Introduction ...............................................................................................................................19
2.2 Principles Governing GW-SW Discharges ........................................................................... 20
Diferential Gauging Hydrograph Recession Analysis Hydraulics of GW-SW
Flow Chemical Tracers for Assessing GW-SW Interactions Heat as a Tracer of GW-SW
Interactions
2.3 Methods and Analysis ...............................................................................................................22
Diferential Gauging GW-SW Estimates from Recession Analysis Groundwater-Flow-
Based Methods Chemical Tracer Methods Temperature-Based Methods
2.4 Applications ................................................................................................................................26
Diferential Gauging: Case Study Heat as a Tracer: Case Study
2.5 Challenges .................................................................................................................................. 28
References .............................................................................................................................................. 28
Christopher Butler
University of California, Merced
Thomas C. Harmon
University of California, Merced
Handbook of Environmental Fluid Dynamics, Volume Two, edited by Harindra Joseph Shermal Fernando. 2013 CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
ISBN:978-1-4665-5601-0.