Lambs, Luc Interactions between groundwater and surface water at river banks and the confluence of rivers. (2004) Journal of Hydrology, vol. 288 (n° 3-4). pp. 312-326. ISSN 0022-1694
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2003.10.013
Riparian vegetation depends on hydrological resources and has to adapt to changes in water levels and soil moisture conditions. The origin and mixing of water in the streamside corridor were studied in detail. The development of riparian woodland often reflects the evolution of hydrological events. River water levels and topography are certainly the main causes of the exchange between groundwater and river water through the riverbank. Stable isotopes, such as 18O, are useful tools that allow water movement to be traced. Two main water sources are typically present: (i) river water, depleted of heavy isotopes, originating upstream, and (ii) groundwater, which comes mainly from the local rainfall. On the Garonne River bank field site downstream of Toulouse, the mixing of these two waters is variable, and depends mainly on the river level and the geographical position. The output of the groundwater into the river water is not diffuse on a large scale, but localised at few places. At the confluence of two rivers, the water-mixing area is more complex because of the presence of a third source of water. In this situation, groundwater supports the hydrologic pressure of both rivers until they merge, this pressure could influence its outflow. Two cases will be presented. The first is the confluence of the Garonne and the Ariège Rivers in the south-west of France, both rivers coming from the slopes of the Pyrénées mountains. Localised groundwater outputs have been detected about 200 m before the confluence. The second case presented is the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna Rivers in the north of India, downstream of the city of Allahabad. These rivers are the two main tributaries of the Ganges, and both originate in the Himalayas. A strong stream of groundwater output was measured at the point of confluence.
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