High recharge areas significantly influence the groundwater quality and quantity in regional groundwater systems. Many studies have applied recharge potential analysis (RPA) to estimate groundwater recharge potential (GRP) and have delineated high recharge areas based on the estimated GRP. However, most of these studies define the RPA parameters with supposition, and this represents a major source of uncertainty for applying RPA. To objectively define the RPA parameter values without supposition, this study proposes a systematic method based on the theory of parameter identification. A surrogate variable, namely the average storage variation (ASV) index, is developed to calibrate the RPA parameters, because of the lack of direct GRP observations. The study results show that the correlations between the ASV indexes and computed GRP values improved from 0.67 before calibration to 0.85 after calibration, thus indicating that the calibrated RPA parameters represent the recharge characteristics of the study area well; these data also highlight how defining the RPA parameters with ASV indexes can help to improve the accuracy. The calibrated RPA parameters were used to estimate the GRP distribution of the study area, and the GRP values were graded into five levels. High and excellent level areas are defined as high recharge areas, which composed 7.92% of the study area. Overall, this study demonstrates that the developed approach can objectively define the RPA parameters and high recharge areas of the Choushui River alluvial fan, and the results should serve as valuable references for the Taiwanese government in their efforts to conserve the groundwater quality and quantity of the study area.
- Average storage variation
- Geographical information system
- Groundwater recharge potential
- High recharge areas
- Simulated annealing