Soils Characteristics of The Bassendean and Spearwood Sands of the Gnangara Mound (Western Australia) and their Controls On Recharge, Water Level Patterns and Solutes of The Superficial Aquifer
The flow pathways of water in the soils of the Gnangara Mound are highly irregular and depend upon the moisture content, the repellency and preferential wettability potential of the soils. The occurrence of preferential flow is more evident in dry soils. As the soil wets during the rainy season, the water repellence and differential wettability decreases, the fingering and the preferential flow paths disappear. Most of the agricultural sites in the Spearwood Sands which showed more irregular flow than the Bassendean Sands are under continuous irrigation during cultivation season. As the repellency problems are chemically treated, it is therefore expected that the flow will be more uniform all the year round. Landuse is mainly responsible for variation in recharge rates; however, the hydraulic properties control aquifer response and water level pattern to a greater degree. Water levels in the mid 1970s were in a semi steady state. Since that time, a combination of increasing water use by pine plantations, heavy pumping from private boreholes in market gardens and private homes and intensive pumping from the Gnangara Mound for the metropolitan water supply have caused water levels to continually decline in the Superficial aquifer. Nitrate and phosphate concentrations in the regional Superficial aquifer are generally very low. None of the tested pesticides (atrazine, diazinon, dimethoate, endosulfan, fenamiphos, iprodione, malathion and chlorpyrifos) were detected in the groundwater samples collected from the monitoring bores.