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Regional recharge estimation using multiple methods: an application in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia (Canada)

Recharge is a key parameter in groundwater resources management, and a reliable estimate of recharge is required for their sustainable development. Several methods are available to evaluate recharge; however, selecting the appropriate one is made difficult because each method has its
advantages and drawbacks, and results can vary greatly from one method to another. Recharge methods can actually refer to different processes. This paper compares and discusses the results obtained from five regional-scale recharge assessment approaches applied to a fractured rock aquifer in a
region with a temperate and humid climate (Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada). These methods are distinguished between those providing estimates of the net infiltration (I) into the subsurface (river hydrograph separation and soil moisture balance) from those considering the net recharge (W) to
the regional bedrock aquifer (river 7-day low-flows, the corrected soil moisture balance, a numerical groundwater flow model developed with FEFLOW and an infiltration model developed with HELP). The estimated net infiltration ranges from 160 to 250 mm/year, whereas the net recharge estimates range
from 80 to 175 mm/year for the entire study area. Although different assessment methods were used, the estimated recharge range is still quite large, demonstrating the importance of using several methods. This case study should provide guidance on choices to be made in the development of a strategy
for assessing representative values of aquifer recharge at the regional scale under similar geological and climatic conditions. The use of multiple complementary approaches should lead to a better understanding of the system dynamics and to better defined a representative range of recharge

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