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Keywords:

  • recharge;
  • infiltration;
  • climate;
  • aquifers

[1] The objective of this work is to integrate field data and modeling tools in producing temporally and spatially varying groundwater recharge in a pilot watershed in North Okanagan, Canada. The recharge modeling is undertaken by using the Richards equation based finite element code (HYDRUS-1D), ArcGIS™, ROSETTA, in situ observations of soil temperature and soil moisture, and a long-term gridded climate data. The public version of HYDUS-1D and another version with detailed freezing and thawing module are first used to simulate soil temperature, snow pack, and soil moisture over a one year experimental period. Statistical analysis of the results show both versions of HYDRUS-1D reproduce observed variables to the same degree. After evaluating model performance using field data and ROSETTA derived soil hydraulic parameters, the HYDRUS-1D code is coupled with ArcGIS™ to produce spatially and temporally varying recharge maps throughout the Deep Creek watershed. Temporal and spatial analysis of 25 years daily recharge results at various representative points across the study watershed reveal significant temporal and spatial variations; average recharge estimated at 77.8 ± 50.8 mm/year. Previous studies in the Okanagan Basin used Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance without any attempt of model performance evaluation, notwithstanding its inherent limitations. Thus, climate change impact results from this previous study and similar others, such as Jyrkama and Sykes (2007), need to be interpreted with caution.