Krčmář D., Hodasová K., Ondrejková I. & Fľaková R., 2023: The thermal footprint of urbanization: Linking high-density basement structures to groundwater heat contamination. Acta Geologica Slovaca, 15, 2, 77–84.

The thermal footprint of urbanization: Linking high-density basement structures to groundwater heat contamination

David Krčmář, Kamila Hodasová, Ivana Ondrejková & Renata Fľaková

Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Engineering Geology, Hydrogeology and Applied Geophysics, Ilkovičová 6, 842 15, Bratislava, Slovakia;


The thermal influence of urban infrastructure on groundwater resources is a growing concern in hydrogeological studies, particularly in the context of urban heat islands. This research presents a novel approach to quantifying this influence using building density as a proxy for estimating groundwater temperatures (GWT) in urban areas. Using a GIS-based methodology, we constructed circular buffers with a radius of 600 meters centred on groundwater monitoring wells to calculate urban density. Our model demonstrated a strong correlation between building density and GWT, with a correlation coefficient (R 2 ) of 0.94, indicating a substantial thermal impact of urban structures within this range. The precision of our model was highlighted by the average deviation of 0.34 °C between predicted and measured groundwater temperatures, and a maximum error of 0.79 °C. A case study in Bratislava city validated the model’s effectiveness, showing an almost perfect correlation between urban density and GWT. The findings suggest that our approach provides a reliable and simplified method for predicting GWT in urban environments. However, to generalize our model, further research is recommended that incorporates data from various cities and considers additional variables such as groundwater flow. This study contributes to the field of urban hydrogeology by offering a methodological advancement for the assessment and management of groundwater resources in densely built environments.

Key words: urban hydrogeology, groundwater temperature, building density, GIS buffer, urban heat island

Manuscript received: 2023-12-05

Revised version accepted: 2023-12-20

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Forthcoming articles

AGEOS 2023, Vol. 15, Issue 2