Articles | Volume 31
16 Jun 2012
 | 16 Jun 2012

Portrayal of fuzzy recharge areas for water balance modelling – a case study in northern Oman

A. Gerner, N. Schütze, and G. H. Schmitz

Abstract. The research project IWAS Oman aims at implementing integrated water resources management (IWRM) to a pilot area in Al Batinah, Oman. This requires – amongst others – a realistic assessment of groundwater recharge to the alluvial aquifer which obviously has to be based upon the extension of recharge areas. In this context, the subsequent investigation focuses on the role of vagueness as regards the portrayal of the areas that provide water for particular aquifers. For that purpose, concepts of fuzziness in spatial analysis are applied to describe possible extents of recharge areas.

In general, any water assessment is based on clearly delineated boundaries. However, in many cases, aquifer recharge areas are not clearly defined due to the nature of the study area. Hence, surfaces indicating a gradual membership to the recharge area of a particular aquifer are used in this investigation. These surfaces, which are based on available qualitative information, visualise a potential range of spatial extension. With regard to water balance calculations, functional relationships in tabular form are derived as well. Based on a regionalisation approach providing spatially distributed recharge rates, the corresponding recharge volume is calculated. Hence, this methodology provides fuzzy input data for water balance calculations. Beyond the portrayal of one singular aquifer recharge area, this approach also supports the complementary consideration of adjacent areas.