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British Journal of Environment and Climate Change, ISSN: 2231-4784,Vol.: 2, Issue.: 4 (October-December)

Original Research Article

Comparative Analysis for Estimating Hydraulic Conductivity Values to Improve the Estimation of Groundwater Recharge in Yaoundé-Cameroon

A. Fouépé Takounjou1,2*, W. Fantong1, J. Ndam Ngoupayou3 and L. Sigha Nkamdjou1

1Institute for Geological and Mining Research-Hydrological Research Centre, P.O. Box 4110, Yaounde, Cameroon.
2Department of Earth Sciences, University of Yaounde I, P. O. Box 812, Yaounde, Cameroon.


Climate change will deeply affect the precipitation and evapotranspiration around the world. The sustainability of groundwater resources is crucial for regional and local communities, which is intimately tied to the changing recharge rate. To accurately assess the recharge rate, different methods were used to estimate hydraulic conductivity of an unconfined aquifer in this study. Particle size method with four empirical formulae, together with in-situ aquifer tests and the inverse modelling techniques were integrated to evaluate their potential for the determination of hydraulic conductivity of unconsolidated aquifer materials in order to improve groundwater recharge estimation. Results showed a wide disparity between the granulometric estimates of the hydraulic conductivity and the in-situ and modelling techniques. Slug test values range from 5.13 x 10-6 m/s to 4.96 x 10-5 m/s whereas the infiltration test (Porchet method) results vary from 1.91 x 10-7 m/s to 1.16 x 10-6 m/s. The simulated hydraulic conductivity values range from 2.54 x 10-7 m/s to 6.36 x 10-7 m/s, with a decreasing trend in the northeast-southwest (NE-SW) direction. The infiltration method appeared to be better than the granulometric one in the estimation of the vertical hydraulic conductivity within the unsaturated zone of porous formations. This study also pointed out that within an anisotropic formation, the hydraulic conductivity ratio (Kv/Kh) should not always be taken as equal to 10. Specific tests should be implemented to access this value in a given aquifer.The inverse modelling results showed the net recharge values varying from 68.5 mm/yr to 180 mm/yr. The modelling technique appears to be consistent with the in-situ estimates. Therefore, the application of groundwater modelling tool in this study has shown excellent promise for characterizing the spatial distribution of hydraulic conductivity and net recharge values within the targeted aquifer system.

Keywords :

Grain size; hydraulic conductivity; slug test; inverse modelling; Yaounde.

Full Article - PDF    Page 391-409

DOI : 10.9734/BJECC/2012/2503

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