Groundwater Budget Estimation of an Over-Exploited Aquifer Located in the Arid Climate of Iran (Part Two: Calculation of Different Water Budget Components)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Water Engineering and Management, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Researcher, Research Institute of Water Engineering and Management, Tarbiat Modares Univ., Tehran, Iran

3 Researcher, Sharif Univ. of Technology, Tehran, Iran


Groundwater resources are the most important sources of water supply for various uses in the Rafsanjan study area. Over-exploitation of these resources has resulted in a continuous groundwater level depletion in the last three decades. The possibility of sustainable exploitation of these resources in the coming years requires appropriate groundwater use management. Based on the groundwater budget estimation for the Rafsanjan aquifer with​ an area of ​4236.5 km2 in the period from 2009 to 2016, the changes in groundwater storage are estimated to be -166.3 million cubic meters per year, which has led to a mean annual groundwater level depletion of 58 centimeters. Spatial estimation of evapotranspiration using the remote sensing data and simplified energy balance method of SSEB in this study, allows the calculation of groundwater recharge component while this approach stops the approximate estimates of this component by recommended coefficients for precipitation infiltration or return water from different uses. During this period, the value of evapotranspiration is estimated to be 581 million cubic meters, of which about 35 to 40 percent is evaporation from precipitation and the rest is evaporation and transpiration of irrigation (mainly from pistachio orchards). In the studied years, an average of 1157 hectares of land in the region is pistachio orchards, which has an average of 3071 cubic meters per hectare, water consumption, which indicates the conditions of low irrigation and water stress for pistachio orchards. Also, the assessments on the dominant conditions show that the condition of the aquifer is critical and indicates the need to attend to the appropriate management of groundwater use.


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