Groundwater-fed irrigation impacts spatially distributed temporal scaling behavior of the natural system: a spatio-temporal framework for understanding water management impacts



Regional scale water management analysis increasingly relies on integrated modeling tools. Much recent work has focused on groundwater–surface water interactions and feedbacks. However, to our knowledge, no study has explicitly considered impacts of management operations on the temporal dynamics of the natural system. Here, we simulate twenty years of hourly moisture dependent, groundwater-fed irrigation using a three-dimensional, fully integrated, hydrologic model (ParFlow-CLM). Results highlight interconnections between irrigation demand, groundwater oscillation frequency and latent heat flux variability not previously demonstrated. Additionally, the three-dimensional model used allows for novel consideration of spatial patterns in temporal dynamics. Latent heat flux and water table depth both display spatial organization in temporal scaling, an important finding given the spatial homogeneity and weak scaling observed in atmospheric forcings. Pumping and irrigation amplify high frequency (sub-annual) variability while attenuating low frequency (inter-annual) variability. Irrigation also intensifies scaling within irrigated areas, essentially increasing temporal memory in both the surface and the subsurface. These findings demonstrate management impacts that extend beyond traditional water balance considerations to the fundamental behavior of the system itself. This is an important step to better understanding groundwater's role as a buffer for natural variability and the impact that water management has on this capacity.
Date made available2014
PublisherInstitute of Physics (IOP)

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