Any estimate of ‘age’ of a groundwater sample based on environmental tracers requires some form of geochemical model to interpret the tracer chemistry (chapter 3) and is, therefore, referred to in this chapter as a tracer model age. the tracer model age of a groundwater sample can be useful for obtaining information on the residence time and replenishment rate of an aquifer system, but that type of data is most useful when it can be incorporated with all other information that is known about the groundwater system under study. groundwater fl ow models are constructed of aquifer systems because they are usually the best way of incorporating all of the known information about the system in the context of a mathematical framework that constrains the model to follow the known laws of physics and chemistry as they apply to groundwater flow and transport. It is important that the purpose or objective of the study be identified first before choosing the type and complexity of the model to be constructed, and to make sure such a model is necessary. The purpose of a modelling study is most often to characterize the system within a numerical framework, such that the hydrological responses of the system can be tested under potential stresses that might be imposed given future development scenarios. As this manual discusses dating as it applies to old groundwater, most readers are likely to be interested in studying regional groundwater flow systems and their water resource potential.
Additional publication details
Numerical flow models and their calibration using tracer based ages: Chapter 10