A Review of Factors Affecting Recovery of Freshwater Stored in Saline Aquifers

by Michael L. Merritt, US Geological Survey, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Artificial Recharge of Ground Water


A simulation analysis reported previously, and summarized herein, identified the effects of various geohydrologic and operational factors on recoverability of the injected water. Buoyancy stratification, downgradient advection, and hydrodynamic dispersion are the principal natural processes that reduce the amount of injected water that can be recovered. Buoyancy stratification is shown to depend on injection-zone permeability and the density contrast between injected and saline native water. Downgradient advection occurs as a result of natural or induced hydraulic gradients in the aquifer. Hydrodynamic dispersion reduces recovery efficiency by mixing some of the injected water with native saline aquifer water. In computer simulations, the relation of recovery efficiency to volume injected and its improvement during successive injection-recovery cycles was shown to depend on changes in the degree of hydrodynamic dispersion that occurs. Additional aspects of the subject are discussed.

Subject Headings: Fresh water | Salinity | Aquifers | Buoyancy | Water conservation | Salt water | Water resources | Flow simulation

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