Intensive groundwater exploitation has depleted groundwater storage and led to a series of geo-environmental problems in Beijing Plain, China. Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) has been endorsed to mitigate the groundwater storage depletion and achieve groundwater sustainability. A pilot MAR has been tested in the Chaobai River catchment since 2015. An innovative large-scale MAR consisting of 9 cascade terraced infiltration ponds was proposed and its effectiveness was assessed in this study using an integrated modelling approach. The integrated model coupled the regional and local transient flow and transport processes. The transient regional flow model simulated historical groundwater level declines and storage depletion in the Beijing Plain from 1995 to 2018. The coupled regional and local flow model was used to simulate the pilot MAR test in the Chaobai River from 2015 to 2018. A significant groundwater level increase was observed nearby the pilot MAR since 2015. The transport model results indicate that approximately 40% of the infiltrated water was captured by pumping wells in the No.8 well field. The models were further used to assess the long-term effects of the large-scale MAR from 2020 to 2050. The simulation results show that the groundwater system will reach a new equilibrium state under the implementation of the large-scale MAR scheme. Almost 91% of the abstracted water in the No. 8 well field will come from the MAR infiltration. The proposed large-scale MAR is very effective in restoring the depleted aquifer storage and maintaining the groundwater abstraction in the No.8 well field. However, with the increase of the groundwater level, the infiltration rate of several ponds will decrease. Therefore, it is important to maintain a dynamic balance between artificial recharge and groundwater abstraction in order to achieve a sustainable long-term MAR operation in the region.
- Infiltration rate and capacity
- Managed aquifer recharge
- Restoration of groundwater storage
- Simulation models
- Sustainability of a large well field