Development of a conceptual groundwater flow model using a combined hydrogeological, hydrochemical and isotopic approach : A case study from southern Benin

Kpegli, Kodjo Apelete Raoul; Alassane, Abdoukarim; Zee, Sjoerd E.A.T.M. van der; Boukari, Moussa; Mama, Daouda


Study region: The Turonian-Coniacian aquifer system in the North of the Coastal Sedimentary Basin, southern Benin, West Africa. Study focus: The Turonian-Coniacian aquifer is the major aquifer in southern Benin and is the main source of water supply for the population. The pressure on groundwater resources from the Turonian-Coniacian aquifer is increasing since few artesian wells tapping into this aquifer already show decrease in their yields. Preventing extinction of the artesian outflows requires as a first step a thorough understanding of the groundwater flow system: groundwater recharge areas, downstream areas, and flow directions. In this study, a combined hydrogeological, hydrochemical and isotopic approach was applied to understand the groundwater flow within this aquifer and to develop a coherent conceptual groundwater flow model. New hydrological insights for the region: The piezometric results indicated three main groundwater flow directions. Stable isotopes results confirmed the piezometry as the most depleted and enriched values in Oxygen-18 and deuterium were found respectively in downstream areas (southern region) and in the recharge areas (northern region) indicated by the piezometry. Similarly, higher tritium contents (up to 3.5 Tritium Unit) characterize recharge areas and low tritium contents (<0.12 Tritium Unit) were found in downstream areas. The combination of these results with the geologic and topographic data led to a coherent conceptual groundwater flow model shown in this paper.