Oral Presentation Australasian Groundwater Conference 2017

Groundwater tinder – a guide for water dating techniques (#158)

Nicola Fry 1 , Carolina Sardella 1
  1. EMM Consulting, St Leonards, NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia

Understanding surface water-groundwater interaction, groundwater flow, recharge and discharge areas, and hydraulic connectivity can be greatly enhanced by the use of dating water. With so many options, how do you find your perfect isotope match? Sick and tired of trying different techniques and getting nowhere? You used to date young groundwater but now you realise it is old groundwater you are more interested in and don’t know where to start? This desktop study presents a brief guide of groundwater dating techniques, so you can find the one (or ones) you’ve been looking for.

A literature review summarising the advantages and disadvantages of several groundwater dating isotope techniques are discussed. Sampling design considerations are discussed and presented with reference to eastern Australian groundwater assessments and conceptual model design.

Designing a dating isotope sampling program needs special consideration where your goals need to align with the ability and applicability of the technique. A compilation of up-to-date and emerging groundwater dating methodologies are summarised and merits compared, providing a one-stop guide for designing your next groundwater dating program. Commonly used isotopic dating techniques are assessed.

Isotopic dating of groundwater is a powerful tool used globally to enhance hydrogeological conceptual models, including identifying groundwater provenance and hydraulic connectivity. However, careful consideration is required when choosing the isotopic technique to provide appropriate results suited to meet the project objectives. This study summarises the salient factors for consideration when designing your isotope sampling program.

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