Comprehending mountain springs’ hydrogeological perspectives under climate change in Aosta Valley (Northwestern Italy): new automated tools and simplified approaches
Keywords:mountain springs, hydrogeology, hydrology, Python App, spring vulnerability
Mountain springs’ recharging mechanisms have undergone significant changes due to climate change, as well as altered water consumption patterns and policies. Specifically, climate change has influenced the characteristics of spring discharges, evapotranspiration, snow-rainfall ratios, and snow seasonality, bringing new rainfall patterns associated with increased average air temperatures. Consequently, examining how groundwater storage mechanisms are changing in response to climate-driven has become crucial for understanding the future scenarios associated with water availability in such areas. Therefore, increasingly automated tools and simplified approaches need to be applied to continuously monitor hydrogeological variables affecting the spring recharge system. SOURCE (a semi-automatic tool for Spring mOnitoring data analysis and aqUifeR CharactErization) is an advanced semi-automatic Python tool that automates the hydrogeological characterization of the springs’ aquifers. Its functionalities were tested through the analysis of the Promise and Alpe Perrot mountain springs and the related meteorological stations (La Thuile-Villaret and Champdepraz-Chevrère) located in the Aosta Valley region (NW Italy). Input data (flow rate, temperature, electrical conductivity, and rainfall) can be rapidly processed, providing graphical outputs, as well as values for the main hydrodynamic parameters (e.g. auto and cross-correlation coefficients) for an aquifer. Besides, to comprehend the relationship between changes in weather conditions and water availability in the Aosta Valley Region (Northwestern Italy), 7-year precipitation and discharge trends were considered. Despite the increasing trends in flow rate, considering the limited vulnerability values obtained for Alpe Perrot, it is possible to hypothesize a delayed impact of climatic changes on the spring system. The impact of climatic changes on Promise spring is supposed to be faster. However, the nature and dimensions of the aquifer are such as to be resilience to increasing water temperature. Being able to continuously monitor and define the effects induced on water reserves through simplified analysis approaches, such as those presented in this paper, is increasingly necessary, especially for local authorities. A single software package such as SO URC E that contains all the main methods of water spring analysis has the potential to significantly reduce any analysis times.
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