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Quantifying a safe operating space for human use of coastal groundwater under multiple change pressures
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology. National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Climate-change and various other changes occurring in the landscape may lead to critical loss of freshwater on different scales. In the densely populated coastal regions of the world, loss of groundwater by seawater intrusion, which is impacted by the climate, sea-level and landscape changes, may be critical for many people. We here analytically investigate and quantify this criticality in terms of a safe operating space for human use of groundwater in coastal regions. We determine this space, both generally and specifically for two important exploited Mediterranean aquifers, in terms of key natural and management limits for human use of coastal groundwater in order to avoid critical loss of this resource by seawater intrusion. The quantification framework is simple, yet general and applicable across different scales and regions, for historic, current and projected future conditions of changing hydro-climate, sea level and freshwater use and demand.

Keyword [en]
seawater intrusion, coastal aquifer, safe operating space, groundwater pumping, Mediterranean aquifers
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103170OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-103170DiVA: diva2:716058
Available from: 2014-05-07 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2014-05-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Seawater intrusion risks and controls for safe use of coastal groundwater under multiple change pressures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Seawater intrusion risks and controls for safe use of coastal groundwater under multiple change pressures
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the era of intense pressures on water resources, the loss of groundwater by increased seawater intrusion (SWI), driven by climate, sea level and landscape changes, may be critical for many people living in commonly populous coastal regions. Analytical solutions have been derived here for interface flow in coastal aquifers, which allow for simple quantification of SWI under extended conditions from previously available such solutions and are suitable for first-order regional vulnerability assessment and mapping of the implications of climate- and landscape-driven change scenarios and related comparisons across various coastal world regions. Specifically, the derived solutions can account for the hydraulically significant aquifer bed slope in quantifying the toe location of a fresh-seawater sharp interface in the present assessments of vulnerability and safe exploitation of regional coastal groundwater. 

Results show high nonlinearity of SWI responses to hydro-climatic and groundwater pumping changes on the landside and sea level rise on the marine side, implying thresholds, or tipping points, which, if crossed, may lead abruptly to major SWI of the aquifer. Critical limits of coastal groundwater change and exploitation have been identified and quantified in direct relation to prevailing local-regional conditions and stresses, defining a safe operating space for the human use of coastal groundwater. Generally, to control SWI, coastal aquifer management should focus on adequate fresh groundwater discharge to the sea, rather than on maintaining a certain hydraulic head at some aquifer location. First-order vulnerability assessments for regional Mediterranean aquifers of the Nile Delta Aquifer, the Israel Coastal Aquifer  and the Cyprus Akrotiri Aquifer show that in particular the first is seriously threatened by advancing seawater. Safe operating spaces determined for the latter two show that the current pumping schemes are not sustainable under declining recharge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 2014. 36 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 42
Keyword
seawater intrusion, coastal aquifer, tipping points, safe operating space, analytical solution
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103137 (URN)978-91-7447-907-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-12, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

The thesis was founded by two research programmes: NEO private-academic sector partnership and Ekoklim, a strategic governmental funding through Stockholm University

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2014-05-22 Created: 2014-05-06 Last updated: 2014-06-16Bibliographically approved

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