A hierarchical approach on groundwater-surface water interaction in wetlands along the upper Biebrza River, Poland
De Doncker, Liesbet
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This paper presents a hierarchical approach for quantifying and interpreting groundwater-surface water interaction in space and time. The results for the upper Biebrza show predominantly upward water fluxes, sections of recharge, however, exist along the reach. The fluxes depend more on hydraulic gradients than on riverbed conductivity. This indicates that the fluvio-plain scale is required for interpreting the exchange fluxes, which are estimated on a local scale. The paper shows that a conceptual framework is necessary for understanding the groundwater-surface water interaction processes, where the exchange fluxes are influenced by local factors like the composition of the riverbed and the position of the measurement on a local scale, and by regional factors like the hydrogeology and topography on a fluvio-plain scale. The hierarchical methodology increases the confidence in the estimated exchange fluxes and improves the process understanding. The accuracy of the measurements and related uncertainties, however, remain challenges for wetland environments. Gaining quantitative information on groundwatersurface water interaction can improve modeling confidence and as a consequence helps to develop effective procedures for management and conservation of valuable groundwater dependent wetlands.