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Volume 2017, Article ID 1359325, 17 pages
Research Article

Groundwater and Subsidence Modeling Combining Geological and Multi-Satellite SAR Data over the Alto Guadalentín Aquifer (SE Spain)

1Geohazards InSAR Laboratory and Modeling Group (InSARlab), Geoscience Research Department, Geological Survey of Spain (IGME), Alenza 1, 28003 Madrid, Spain
2Spanish Working Group on Ground Subsidence (SUBTER), UNESCO, 03690 Alicante, Spain
3Environmental Geology and Geomathematics, Geoscience Research Department, Geological Survey of Spain (IGME), Alenza 1, 28003 Madrid, Spain
4Research Partnership Unit IGME-UA on Radar Interferometry Applied to Ground Deformation (UNIRAD), University of Alicante, P.O. Box 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain
5Earth Observation and Geohazards Expert Group (EOEG), EuroGeoSurveys, The Geological Surveys of Europe, 36-38 Rue Joseph II, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
6Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Pablo Ezquerro; se.emgi@orreuqze.p

Received 28 April 2017; Revised 19 July 2017; Accepted 25 October 2017; Published 18 December 2017

Academic Editor: Timothy H. Dixon

Copyright © 2017 Pablo Ezquerro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the current context of climate change, improving groundwater monitoring and management is an important issue for human communities in arid environments. The exploitation of groundwater resources can trigger land subsidence producing damage in urban structures and infrastructures. Alto Guadalentín aquifer system in SE Spain has been exploited since 1960 producing an average piezometric level drop of 150 m. This work presents a groundwater model that reproduces groundwater evolution during 52 years with an average error below 10%. The geometry of the model was improved introducing a layer of less permeable and deformable soft soils derived from InSAR deformation and borehole data. The resulting aquifer system history of the piezometric level has been compared with ENVISAT deformation data to calculate a first-order relationship between groundwater changes, soft soil thickness, and surface deformation. This relationship has been validated with the displacement data from ERS and Cosmo-SkyMed satellites. The resulting regression function is then used as an empirical subsidence model to estimate a first approximation of the deformation of the aquifer system since the beginning of the groundwater extraction, reaching 1 to 5.5 m in 52 years. These rough estimations highlight the limitations of the proposed empirical model, requiring the implementation of a coupled hydrogeomechanical model.