Spatio-temporal groundwater variations associated with climatic and anthropogenic impacts in South-West Western Australia
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V.
South-West Western Australia (SWWA) is a critical agricultural region that heavily relies on groundwater for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. However, the behaviours of groundwater associated with climate variability/change and anthropogenic impacts within this region are not well understood. This study investigates the spatio-temporal variability of groundwater in SWWA based on 2997 boreholes over the past 36 years (1980–2015). Results identify the decline in groundwater level (13 mm/month) located in the central coastal region of SWWA (i.e., north and south of Perth) to be caused by anthropogenic impacts (primary factor) and climate variability/change (secondary). In detail, anthropogenic impacts are mainly attributed to substantial groundwater abstraction, e.g., hotspots (identified by above 7 m/month groundwater level change) mostly occur in the central coastal region, as well as close to dams and mines. Impacts of climate variability/change indicate that coupled ENSO and positive IOD cause low-level rainfall in the coastal regions, subsequently, affecting groundwater recharge. In addition, correlation between groundwater and rainfall is significant at 0.748 over entire SWWA (at 95% confidence level). However, groundwater in northeastern mountainous regions hardly changes with rainfall because of very small amounts of rainfall (average 20–30 mm/month) in this region, potentially coupled with terrain and geological impacts. A marked division for groundwater bounded by the Darling and Gingin Scarps is found. This is likely due to the effects of the Darling fault, dams, central mountainous terrain and geology. For the region south of Perth and southern coastal regions, a hypothesis through multi-year analysis is postulated that rainfall of at least 60 and 65–70 mm/month, respectively, are required during the March–October rainfall period to recharge groundwater.
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