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Intensively exploited Mediterranean aquifers: resilience to seawater intrusion and proximity to critical thresholds
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.
2014 (English)In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, ISSN 1027-5606, E-ISSN 1607-7938, Vol. 18, no 5, 1663-1677 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigate seawater intrusion in three prominent Mediterranean aquifers that are subject to intensive exploitation and modified hydrologic regimes by human activities: the Nile Delta, Israel Coastal and Cyprus Akrotiri aquifers. Using a generalized analytical sharp interface model, we review the salinization history and current status of these aquifers, and quantify their resilience/vulnerability to current and future seawater intrusion forcings. We identify two different critical limits of seawater intrusion under groundwater exploitation and/or climatic stress: a limit of well intrusion, at which intruded seawater reaches key locations of groundwater pumping, and a tipping point of complete seawater intrusion upto the prevailing groundwater divide of a coastal aquifer. Either limit can be reached, and ultimately crossed, under intensive aquifer exploitation and/or climate-driven change. We show that seawater intrusion vulnerability for different aquifer cases can be directly compared in terms of normalized intrusion performance curves. The site-specific assessments show that: a) the intruding seawater currently seriously threatens the Nile Delta Aquifer, b) in the Israel Coastal Aquifer the sharp interface toe approaches the well location and c) the Cyprus Akrotiri Aquifer is currently somewhat less threatened by increased seawater intrusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 18, no 5, 1663-1677 p.
Keyword [en]
coastal aquifer, seawater intrusion, submarine groundwater discharge, sharp interface, tipping points, resilience, Mediterranean
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103171DOI: 10.5194/hess-18-1663-2014ISI: 000337949000009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-103171DiVA: diva2:716155
Available from: 2014-05-08 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically 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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