Radon and Salinity Mass Balance Constraints on Groundwater Recharge on a Semi-Arid Island (Catalina, California)
Quantifying the freshwater component of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is critical in the analysis of terrestrial influences on marine ecosystems and in assessing the water budget and groundwater recharge of coastal aquifers. In semi-arid to arid settings, this quantification is difficult because low SGD rates translate into low concentrations of groundwater solutes in coastal waters. In this study, fresh SGD (FSGD) was quantified for Toyon Bay on Catalina Island, California, for wet and
... dry seasons using a combination of radon and salinity mass balance models, and the results were compared to watershed-specific groundwater recharge rates obtained from soil water balance (SWB) modeling. Calculated FSGD rates vary only slightly with season and are remarkably similar to the recharge estimates from the SWB model. While sensitivity analyses revealed FSGD estimates to be significantly influenced by uncertainties in geochemical variability of the groundwater end-member and fluctuations of water depth, the results of this study support the SWB-model-based recharge rates. The findings of this study highlight the utility of the radon-and-salinity-mass-balance-based FSGD estimates as groundwater recharge calibration targets, which may aid in establishing more refined sustainable groundwater yields.