Using artificial tracers to study water losses of ephemeral floods in small arid streams

Jens Lange, Christian Leibundgut, Tamir Grodek, Judith Lekach, Asher Schick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Tracer techniques were used to study infiltration losses into a dry wadi bed. In order not to be fully dependent on rarely occurring natural flood events, an artificial flash flood was studied in a small arid stream channel, Nahal Shahmon, Israel. A reservoir was built, filled with water (550 m3) and breached artificially. Three different artificial tracers were injected at different times during the flood. At two locations downstream surface water samples were taken. The water moving within the alluvium was also sampled with the help of fluocapteurs distributed at different locations within the alluvial body. The fluocapteurs enabled the different pathways of the two dye tracers downstream to be identified and the maximum depth of infiltration to be approximated. This sampling technique is promising for future studies in arid rivers, since fluocapteurs can stay for a long time without any maintenance. Towards the end of flow, exfiltration from the channel alluvium was observed. The interplay between surface and exfiltrating water is described by a simple model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalIAHS-AISH Publication
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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