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NEGATIVE IMPACTS DUE TO GROUNDWATER LEVEL RISE IN A HIGHLY POPULATED URBAN SYSTEM

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Raúl A. Lopardo, Héctor Bianchi, Oscar Coriale
Raúl A. Lopardo, Héctor Bianchi and Oscar Coriale Instituto Nacional del Agua - Argentina Casilla Correo 46 – (1802)-Aeropuerto Ezeiza, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tel: (54-11) 4480-9162, Fax: (54-11) 4480-0094 e-mail: rlopardo@ina.gov.ar

Keyword(s): groundwater rise, megacities, environmetal impacts, diagnose, social impacts
AbstractNEGATIVE IMPACTS DUE TO GROUNDWATER LEVEL RISE IN A HIGHLY POPULATED URBAN SYSTEM Raúl A. Lopardo, Héctor Bianchi and Oscar Coriale Instituto Nacional del Agua - Argentina Numerous localities of the Greater Buenos Aires urban area suffer today the consequences of a disagreeable invasion of liquid coming up from the subsoil. The origins of this progressive elevation of the groundwater level were under discussion, connected with the responsibilities of different actors. In addition, water coming from the subsoil has severe pollution conditions. Briefly, the problems associated with the uncontrolled rise of groundwater level would be: inundation of cellars (even in highlands), structural foundation problems, water outcrop in lowlands with inundated fields, cave-in of cesspools, polluted water in human contact, pavement destruction in streets and, finally a severe deterioration of the quality of life. The process can be associated with an increment of the rainfall in the region due to climate factors as the pluvial regime in the study region over a long time scale (climate change included) or associated with anthropogenic actions, as the water importation from sources placed out of the basin, the deficiency of wastewater networks, the water losses along the distribution system, the extremely high water consumption by inhabitant, the sharp decrease of the public water supply from groundwater sources by wells from the "Puelches" aquifer and the strong decline of the domestic and industrial water wells from the unconfined aquifer. Based on a main program as a strategic subject in the Water National Institute (INA) in Argentina, INA started a long term comprehensive study of the unconfined groundwater level rise in the Greater Buenos Aires urban area, with the main objective to reach a diagnose the diverse factors contributing to this rise, to quantify the influence of each factor and to propose alternative for mitigation actions, allways under the umbrella of the premise of sustainable development. Even if the knowledge coming from hydraulic engineering and hydrogeology are of fundamental importance for the diagnosis of the problem and for the search of technical valid solutions, it can be demonstrated that they are not the only disciplines needed to address the issue of groundwater rise. The social awareness on the physical phenomena and the study analysis, the dissemination of the information to the concerned population, in a clear and easily understandable language and the participation of all involved actors in the discussions is of great importance. With the methodology of "homogeneous zones" analysis, this paper presents a preliminary evaluation of the number of inhabitants affected by this negative impact of the groundwater rise in the Greater Buenos Aires urban area.
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