Groundwater flow models are often used for scenario calculations, decision-making and sustainable groundwater management. Their reliability and validity depend to a large extent on the availability of a large volume of data, ideally integrated in a spatial database.
In Bolivia, there is a lack of hydrogeological data, groundwater monitoring and databases allowing the construction of numerical groundwater flow and transport models. Given this situation, it is essential to start generating and organizing this information in such a way to allow developing of groundwater models.
With this goal, a first hydrogeological data base was built in the region of San José de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in a geographic information system (GIS) that integrates topographic, meteorological, hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical information of the study area.
Its first strength is that it is designed in such a way that it can be linked to MODFLOW (groundwater flow modeling software) and perform numerical simulations of subsurface flow. The second quality is that its implementation has been carried out with the participation and involvement of local actors who can initially visualize relevant information and eventually run simulations which ensure its sustainability; different actors and stakeholders have been actively involved through accompaniment and training. These activities are in favor of sustainability and will ensure continuity in the operation of the monitoring network and the introduction of aquifer information and monitoring that nurtures the database.
This project constitutes the first phase of the doctoral thesis of "Sustainable management of the aquifer of San José de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia", which is developed within the framework of the project "Contribution to integrated water management in Bolivia", carried out by the Bolivian Catholic University, in coordination with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.