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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-224
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-224
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Jul 2020

21 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Drought propagation and its impact on groundwater hydrology of wetlands

Buruk Kitachew Wossenyeleh1, Kaleb Asnake Worku1,2, Boud Verbeiren2, and Marijke Huysmans1,2 Buruk Kitachew Wossenyeleh et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven University, Leuven, Belgium
  • 2Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

Abstract. Drought can be described as a temporary decrease in water availability over a significant period and affects both surface and groundwater resources. Droughts propagate through the hydrological cycle and may impact vulnerable ecosystems. This paper investigates drought propagation in the hydrological cycle, focusing on assessing its impact on a groundwater-fed wetland ecosystem. Meteorological drought indices were used to analyze meteorological drought severity. Besides, a method for assessing groundwater drought and its propagation in the aquifer was developed and applied. Groundwater drought was analyzed using the variable threshold method. Furthermore, meteorological drought and groundwater drought on recharge were compared to investigate drought propagation in the hydrological. This research is carried out in the Doode Bemde wetland in central Belgium. The results of this research show that droughts are strongly attenuated in the groundwater system. The number and severity of groundwater discharge drought events were smaller than for groundwater recharge drought. However, the onset of both drought events occurred at the same time, indicating a quick response of the groundwater system to hydrological stresses. In addition, drought propagation in the hydrological cycle indicated that not all meteorological droughts result in groundwater drought. Furthermore, this drought propagation effect was observed in the wetland.

Buruk Kitachew Wossenyeleh et al.

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Buruk Kitachew Wossenyeleh et al.

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Short summary
Droughts are mainly caused by the reduction of precipitation and affect both surface and groundwater resources. This drought propagates through the hydrological cycle and may impact vulnerable ecosystems. We investigated drought propagation in the hydrological cycle, focusing on assessing its impact on a groundwater-fed wetland ecosystem in the Doode Bemde wetland in central Belgium. We used a method combining meteorological drought indices, water balance models, and groundwater models.
Droughts are mainly caused by the reduction of precipitation and affect both surface and...
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