Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (2): 273-282.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0273-z

• Water Resources • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Estimation of groundwater residence time and recession rate in watershed of the Loess Plateau

ZHU Ruirui1,2, ZHENG Hongxing1, LIU Changming1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2009-03-03 Revised:2009-04-20 Online:2010-04-15 Published:2010-04-15
  • Contact: Zheng Hongxing, Ph.D and Associate Professor, E-mail:
  • About author:Zhu Ruirui (1979–), Ph.D Candidate, specialized in hydrology and water resources. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40601015; No.40671031; National Key Technology R&D Program, No.2007BAC03A11


Groundwater residence time is an important indicator of hydrological cycle and essential for water resources development and utilization. In this paper, groundwater residence time in non-flood season, flood season and water year has been determined from daily streamflow hydrograph of ten hydrological stations in Wudinghe River Basin located in the middle reaches of the Yellow River Basin. Results have showed that: baseflow recession constant in Wudinghe River Basin ranges from 0.72 to 0.94 with a larger recession rate in flood season than that in non-flood season. Spatially, the recession rate of baseflow in loess area is the biggest, but is the smallest in the sandy area. The half-residence time of groundwater varies from 1.8 to 45.5 days while overall residence time of groundwater is between 34 and 342 days in different sub-basins of the Wudinghe River Basin. The annual average overall residence time of groundwater decreases from 117 days in the upper reaches to 73 days in the lower reaches.

Key words: baseflow, recession constant, residence time, Wudinghe River