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Identification of the contributing area to river discharge during low-flow periods

Abstract : The increasing severity of hydrological droughts in the Mediterranean basin related to climate change raises the need to understand the processes sustaining low flow. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate simple mixing model approaches, first to identify and then to quantify streamflow contribution during low-water periods. An approach based on the coupling of geochemical data with hydrological data allows the quantification of flow contributions. In addition, monitoring during the low-water period was used to investigate the drying-up trajectory of each geological reservoir individually. Data were collected during the summers of 2018 and 2019 on a Mediterranean river (Gardon de Sainte-Croix). The identification of the end-members was performed after the identification of a groundwater geochemical signature clustered according to the geological nature of the reservoir. Two complementary methods validate further the characterisation: rock-leaching experiments and unsupervised classification (k-means). The use of the end-member mixture analysis (EMMA) coupled with a generalised likelihood uncertainty estimate (GLUE) (G-EMMA) mixing model coupled with hydrological monitoring of the main river discharge rate highlights major disparities in the contribution of the geological units, showing a reservoir with a minor contribution in high flow becoming preponderant during the low-flow period. This finding was revealed to be of the utmost importance for the management of water resources during the dry period.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 8:44:46 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 2:11:21 PM

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Maxime Gillet, Corinne Le Gal La Salle, Pierre-Alain Ayral, Mahmoud Khaska, Philippe Martin, et al.. Identification of the contributing area to river discharge during low-flow periods. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, European Geosciences Union, 2021, 25 (12), pp.6261-6281. ⟨10.5194/hess-25-6261-2021⟩. ⟨hal-03478641⟩

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