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Geophysical Mapping of

Aquifers in Bolivia
Torleif Dahlin1, Etzar Gomez1,2, Andres Gonzales1,3
1 Engineering Geology, Lund University
2 Hydraulic and Hydrology Institute, Universidad Mayor de San Andres in La Paz (UMSA)
3 Centro AGUA, Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Cochabamba (UMSS)
Project collaboration partners
Academic partners:
• Engineering Geology, Lund University (LU)
• Geosciences Dept., Aarhus University (AU)
• Hydraulic and Hydrology Institute, Universidad Mayor de San Andres in La Paz
(UMSA)
• Centro AGUA, Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Cochabamba (UMSS)
• Geologia, Universidad Tecnica de Oruro (UTO)

Local authorities in Bolivia:


• MMAyA (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua)
• UNASBVI (Unidad de Agua, Saneamiento Básico y Vivienda)
• SELA (Servicio Local de Acueductos y Alcantarillado)

Companies:
• Corimex Ltda, La Paz
• Guideline Geo AB
Water access in Bolivia
• Bolivia is ranked 20th of countries by total Average precipitation (mm/year)
renewable water resources[1]
• Very unevenly distributed
• Access to water supply and sanitation[2]:
• 80% urban areas (60% of the total
population)
• 27% rural areas (40% of the
population)

Main urban centers are located in


arid and semiarid zones
~ 40% of the total population lives in
three main cities of Bolivia: La Paz,
Santa Cruz and Cochabamba
[1] The World Factbook. Retrieved 2015-06-20
[2] Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation by WHO and UNICEF (2008)
Water access in Bolivia
• In 2016: The most severe drought in Bolivia over the last century
Water access in Bolivia
• In 2016: The most severe drought in Bolivia over the
last century
Aim of the project
• Acquire key information by archive studies,
hydrogeological field observations, geophysical mapping,
and chemical and isotope analyses of water samples
• Contribute towards a better understanding of the aquifer
systems
• Found a base for management plans to avoid over
exploitation and contamination.
• Train Bolivian and Scandinavian PhD, MSc and BSc
students
• Transfer knowledge of integrated geophysical aquifer
mapping to local authorities
Methods
Data acquisition
• ERT (Electrical Resistivity Tomography)
• TEM (Transient ElectroMagnetic sounding)

Data processing and inversion


• Res2dinv
• Aarhus WorkBench
• AarhusInv

GIS and visualisation


• Aarhus WorkBench
• Geoscene3D
Study areas
• The aquifers are essential for
water supply of local
communities and agriculture
(serving 100 - 300 thousand
people)
• Under threat of over
exploitation as witnessed by
decreasing groundwater
levels
• Conflicts arise between local
water supply companies
serving urbanized areas and
agricultural interests
CHALLAPAMPA PUNATA
The Challapampa aquifer
• Semi-arid climate
• Mean precipitation 350 mm/y
• Potential ET 1 800 mm/y
• Area > 500 Km2
• Porous aquifer; fluvial-lacustrine
Quaternary sediments.
• Silurian bedrock
The Challapampa aquifer
Fieldwork performed:
• 5 km ERT
• 150 TEM soundings
People involved:
• 1 PhD candidate
• 3 Swedish professors
• 3 Swedish MSc student
ERT data acquisition at Challapampa
TEM data acquisition at Challapampa
ERT, TEM tests - Challapampa

• Clay layer on top


• Saturated sediments, thickness about 100 m
• Low resistivity to the right of the cross-
section *
Ejemplo: Challapampa Oruro
Pruebas: WalkTEM

0-2 m 10-12 m 60-70 m 120-130 m 290-300 m


Conclusion - Challapampa
• Geological map and
resistivity at 3650 m
(about 100 m in
depth)

• Distinction of two
aquifers:
• Porous aquifer (0 –
100 m). Fresh water.
Annually recharged
• Fractured aquifer
(100 – ??? m). Salty
water. Unknown
recharge.
Conclusions
• Geophysical information is
improving the understanding of
the geometry and
hydrogeological parameters the
aquifer
• Base for develop sustainable
management, and avoid over
exploitation and contamination.
• Training of personnel:
• 2 PhDs
• 6 MSc
• 12 BSc
• Involving local authorities and
farmers
• Logistic problems
For more information visit:
http://bolivia.blogg.lu.se/
Thanks for your attention!
Special WalkTEM field setup used at
Challapampa
50m x 50m TX loop

Optimised for data quality and depth penetration with limited TX loop size
Standard WalkTEM field setup

Risk for signal disturbance between RX coils