AbstractIntroduction: Morphometric studies are the basis of the hydrological study of a basin and have application in soil and water conservation. Little is known about the upper basin of the Páez River, Costa Rica, whose springs are used for livestock and vegetable cultivation. Objective: To establish the morphometry of the basin and evaluate infiltration and potential for groundwater recharge. Methods: We used digitized contour lines, every 5m, to build a Digital Elevation Model in Surfer (triangulation with linear interpolation). Results: The most influencing factor is the variation of the slopes, which are mostly oriented to the south. Morphometric analysis generated a rectilinear type curve indicating a state of non-equilibrium. Most streams are in order 1. The hydrological values of the soils vary significantly with slope, which, together with the basin shape, cause changes in groundwater recharge due to infiltration. The quantity of drains of order 1 is related to the permeability of the terrain and infiltration characteristics. Moderate values of drain density are an indicator of increased infiltration and of high potential for groundwater recharge. Conclusions: The hydrological properties of the upper basin of the Páez river are conditioned by its morphometry, especially by the variations in the slopes between contours and the dynamics of the drainage network.
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