Geohydraulic characteristics and groundwater vulnerability assessment of tropically weathered and fractured gneissic aquifers using combined georesistivity and geostatistical methods
Keywords:ERT, Schlumberger VES, geoelectrohydraulic method, regression analysis, groundwater vulnerability, gneissic aquifer
Sustainable groundwater yield in aquifers depends on the protective capacity of the subsurface lithologies and conduit systems. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and its Schlumberger vertical electrical sounding (VES) technique were employed to assess the groundwater yield of aquifer units and their vulnerability to contaminants in Araromi (Akungba-Akoko), southwestern Nigeria. Geohydraulic parameters: aquifer resistivity (\rho0), hydraulic conductivity (K), transmissivity (T), permeability (\Psi), hydraulic resistance (KR), and longitudinal conductance (S) were also evaluated. In addition, regression analysis was utilized to establish the empirical relationships between the K and other geohydraulic parameters, with their percentage contributions to posing vulnerability risk. The georesistivity results revealed four distinct layers: topsoil, weathered layer, partially weathered/fractured bedrock unit, and fresh bedrock. The K model regression-assisted analysis showed that the \rho, T, \Psi, and S contributed about 97.8%, 14%, 99.9%, and 11.5%, respectively, to the estimated aquifers’ K values for the study area. Except for T and S, the regression results had moderate to strong positive correlations with K; hence, this illuminates the essentiality of K in assessing groundwater potential and vulnerability. The aquifer units have low to moderate groundwater yield based on T values (1.67-17.57 m/day) caused by the generally thin overburden (<4 m). However, the deep-weathered and fractured aquifer units with depths ranging from 39-55 m could supply high groundwater yield for sustainable abstraction. The estimated S values (0.0226-0.1926 mhos) for aquifer protective capacity ratings rated the aquifer units in the area as poor to weak. Based on the estimated low logarithm of KR (log KR) values of 0.79-2.25 years, these aquifers have extremely high to moderate aquifer vulnerability index. As a result, prospective wells/boreholes in the study area and settings with similar geohydraulic and vulnerability characteristics should be developed adequately to prevent the infiltration of surface contaminants for potable groundwater abstraction.
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