Sustainable yield of the Colle Quartara carbonate aquifer in the Southern Lepini Mountains (Central Italy)
Accepted: 23 September 2016
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The present research is aimed to contribute to the groundwater resource sustainable management of a carbonate aquifer in a test area of the Lepini Mountains (Central Italy). This aquifer constitutes a major exploited groundwater body of central Apennines. At regional scale, the hydrogeological features of the Lepini hydrostructure are well known. The present study focuses on a portion of the Lepini Mountains where important tapping-works for drinking water supply are in activity (about 1.2 m3/s). New investigations were carried out including: meteo-climatic analysis, spring discharge and hydrometric time series processing, pumping test result interpretation. In addition, a detailed lithostratigraphical and structural survey of a portion of the Lepini hydrostructure at 1:10,000 scale was performed also examining the dense network of discontinuities affecting the carbonate aquifer. Extensional Plio-Pleistocene tectonic activity displaced the carbonate rock sequence under the Pontina Plain, where the carbonate aquifer is confined. The investigation results have allowed the reconstruction of the hydrogeological conceptual model of the studied portion of carbonate massif. Given the scale of the study and the results of the investigation, the carbonate aquifer can be treated as an equivalent porous medium, and the simplified numerical model of the aquifer was constructed with the code MODFLOW-2005. The numerical model, still now under continuous implementation, produced first results on the current withdrawal sustainability, allowing evaluation of possible alternative exploitation scenarios of the carbonate aquifer also considering the probably not significant flow exchanges with the Pontina Plain aquifer.
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