A dye tracer experiment was conducted between the rivers Lauchert and Danube near Sigmaringen (Swabian Alb, southern Germany). After a flood event in the River Lauchert, it was suspected that flood water infiltrated into the karst system and drained towards springs in the Danube Valley. A potential connection of the two rivers is provided by the margin of a tectonic graben crossing the valleys. The aim of the tracer experiment was to gain insight into the dominant groundwater flow direction as well as to study a possible preferential connection between the Lauchert surface catchment area and springs in the Danube Valley. After introducing sodium-fluorescein into the unsaturated zone, six springs in the Danube Valley and the River Lauchert itself were observed. Tracer breakthrough at three springs showed that these springs are fed by groundwater originating in the Lauchert surface catchment. Adjacent springs were not affected by the experiment, indicating a rather sharp divide between separate spring catchments. Analyses of tracer breakthrough curves suggest that springs with a tracer occurrence are fed by the same conduit system. It was possible to show that spring catchments in Sigmaringen reach significantly into the Lauchert surface catchment. As a consequence, a drinking-water supplier has changed its supply strategy. The results also help to explain significant differences between flood damage in the central and lower courses of the River Lauchert.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 7, 2017
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