Evaluating infiltration losses in a Mediterranean wetland: Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park, Spain

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Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park is a series of wetlands which naturally originated from groundwater discharges from the Mancha Occidental aquifer, Spain. Despite the relatively large size of this aquifer, 30 years of intensive groundwater pumping have significantly depleted the water table. As a result, wetlands only remain functional due to artificial inflows. Infiltration loss is therefore a key parameter to evaluate how much water is needed to maintain ecosystem functionality. Although yearly infiltration estimates existed prior to this work, these did not take into account key parameters such as the temporal evolution of the flooded area. This paper presents a more concrete estimate of the average infiltration losses. Infiltration is calculated as the closure term of daily water balances during a period of time where all other elements were known to an acceptable accuracy. A validation mechanism is provided to check the potential utility of the calculated infiltration in wetland management practices.

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