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Measurement of Aquifer Recharge Using Fiber Optic Distributed Temperature Sensing

Active Dates: Current

Participants: Participants: Matt Becker ; Brian Bauer, Weston Ellis

Support: Orange County Water District

Aquifers are artifically recharged in Southern California using recharge (spreading) basins. These basins can foul over time and may be inhibited by natural low peremability sediments. Our project involves the use of Fiber Optic Distributed Temperature Sensing to measure infiltration rates across these basins. In FODTS, temperature is measured along a fiber optic cable trenched into the basin. The rate of downward propagation of diurnal heat oscillation is used to measure infiltration rate. This appraoch has proved successful in a pilot basin and is now being expanced to the basins adjoining the Santa Ana River.

Trenching in Fiber Optic Cable


Example time series temperature measurements in the surface basin and the buried shallow (0.3 m depth) and deep (0.9 m depth) fiber optic cables (left). Brian Bauer oversees infiltration experiment (right)

Diurnal Temperature PropagationBrian Bauer


Seepage measurements across the basin resulting from the FODTS monitoring. The layout of the cable across the basin is shown at right.


seepage cable placement