Significance of enhanced infiltration due to groundwater extraction on the disappearance of a headwater lagoon system: Toluca Basin, Mexico
Mexico City relies significantly on groundwater resources drawn from the Sistema Lerma well field located in the Toluca Basin, Mexico. Enhanced infiltration caused by groundwater extraction is suspected to be both a prime factor in the disappearance of a lagoon system at the Toluca Basin and a potential risk to long-term groundwater quality. A combined approach of field investigation and numerical modeling was adopted to assess the groundwater-surface water interactions within the lagoon system. Potentiometric data indicate that current downward vertical hydraulic gradients below the lagoon and surrounding wetland area are extremely low suggesting very slow infiltration rates. Geochemical and isotope data from surface water and groundwater sampling also indicate that very little surface water infiltration has occurred. Numerical simulations demonstrate that enhanced surface water infiltration is unlikely to be the primary cause in the significant reduction in size of the lagoon system. Other factors such as modifications to the surface water drainage system and capture of spring flow from the surrounding mountainous regions are likely more significant. Simulations also suggest that contaminants originating in the lagoon system are currently entering nearby production wells although the total contaminant mass flux to the wells is still very low and significantly diluted.