Groundwater and mass transport modelling for documentation and protection of groundwater resources

Marek Nawalany, Jan Przybyłek, Stanisław Staśko


A b s t r a c t. Short history of mathematical modeling of groundwater flow and transport in Poland is described. It shows brilliant and long tradition of this advanced aspect of hydrogeology. Mathematical modeling has been extensively used in Poland for years in solving practical problems concerning mainly groundwater abstraction, protection of groundwater resources and, recently, as a routine tool for environmental impact assessment whenever groundwater is involved. Use of numerical models in documenting groundwater resources and conditions of their restoration within regional water balance units are recalled. In particular – documenting admissible volumes of groundwater to be abstracted including wells operating in river valleys, determining protection zones for water supply wells and groundwater reservoirs, in particular for major groundwater basins (in Polish: GZWP), investigating optimal ways of abstracting fresh groundwater in areas where mineral waters occur, investigating alternative groundwater sources for supplying large agglomerations. Three examples: defining changes in groundwater chemical composition in conditions of intensive anthropogenic stress on the environment – impact from urban and industrial waste landfills, agriculture, transportation and municipal facilities on groundwater; coexistence of fresh and mineral waters and, finally, quantitative assessments of impacts from open-pit mines on groundwater in the mining stricken area are described in more detail. Last paragraph of the paper is a future looking assessment of aspects of mathematical modeling in Polish hydrogeology that need to be further developed. The aspects concern scientific issues like: scale problem, inverse problems and chemical reactions in subsoil. Also a need of developing specialized software, setting hardware infrastructure and training staff are addressed as the necessary conditions for keeping pace with world’s hydrogeology.

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