Understanding of Groundwater Flow Systems


The interest in early hydrogeological studies was the aquifer unit, as it is the physical media that stores and permits groundwater transfers from the recharge zone to the discharge zone, making groundwater available to boreholes for water extraction. Recently, the aquifer concept has been complemented by the groundwater flow system theory, where groundwater may be defined by local, intermediate and regional flow systems. This implies that groundwater may travel from one aquifer unit to another aquifer unit (or more) located above or below the former. There is a need of groundwater flow systems evaluation by means of an integrated wide system-view analysis of partial evidence represented by surface (soil and vegetation covers) as well as hydraulic, isotopic and chemical groundwater characterization in the related geological media, where the depth of actual basement rock is paramount as well as discharge areas. There is increasing evidence that climate becoming more variable and key driver of ecosystem health. Even with climate stability, most developing countries will confront serious water problems by the mid-21st century due to an insufficient knowledge of the functioning of their groundwater sources. The value of the flow systems arises from the fact that a wide system view analysis allows adequate crossed examination among relevant data from where water management proposals might more adequately represent field conditions. In this session, examples of successful application of the groundwater flow systems in several countries will be presented.


  • Groundwater flow
  • regional flow systems
  • discharge zone
  • local flow
  • recharge zone

Hosted by

Antonio Cardona

Head of Earth Sciences Department

Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí