Adrian Gallardo is a geoscientist graduated from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, with twenty years experience working in consultancy, mining companies, government agencies, and research institutions. Adrian specialises in hydrogeology, groundwater and solute transport modelling, carbon capture & sequestration, underground storage of nuclear wastes, and environmental geology. He also has substantial experience in the exploration of gold, copper and iron ore deposits. His education and career extend to several countries such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Namibia, Paraguay, Spain, and USA. Adrian is currently an Associated Researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), in the San Luis National University. His work has been summarised in a number of international papers and conference presentations throughout the world.
The Rio Quinto basin covers approximately 35,000 km2, and constitutes one of the most important water resources for the Midwest of Argentina. Agriculture irrigation and water supply for urban centres is directly dependant on the hydrological processes occurring in the basin. Despite its importance, there are still a number of uncertainties about the system and the mechanisms that trigger gully erosion, and the rapid generation of watercourses in the region. The emergence of surface waters not only alters the hydrological regime, but has catastrophic consequences for property and infrastructure. Observations suggest that the formation of a new drainage system would be controlled by multiple factors such as the topography, geological setting, soil composition, and climate change. In this regard, some watercourses might have exploited older gullies and developed over a pre-existent fluvial system. Additionally, the initiation of a precipitation cycle of particular intensity could be accounted for the increase in erosion rates after 2005. Once gullies develop, the area becomes more susceptible to soil degradation. High sodium and the predominance of fine-grained materials would enhance pipe flow, causing an additional reduction in the soils strength. The hydrological system would not have reached equilibrium yet. Therefore, the stream network is expected to enlarge over time. Results of the study contribute to better define the location of areas vulnerable to soil denudation, and constitute a useful tool for early warning and mitigation of natural disasters in the agricultural regions of Argentina.