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Seawater intrusion risks and controls for safe 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.
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 [en]
seawater intrusion, coastal aquifer, tipping points, safe operating space, analytical solution
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103137ISBN: 978-91-7447-907-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-103137DiVA: diva2:716393
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
List of papers
1. Tipping points for seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers under rising sea level
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tipping points for seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers under rising sea level
2013 (English)In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, E-ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 8, no 1, 014001- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study considers different projections of climate-driven sea-level rise and uses a recently developed, generalized analytical model to investigate the responses of sea intrusion in unconfined sloping coastal aquifers to climate-driven sea-level rise. The results show high nonlinearity in these responses, implying important thresholds, or tipping points, beyond which the responses of seawater intrusion to sea-level rise shift abruptly from a stable state of mild change responses to a new stable state of large responses to small changes that can rapidly lead to full seawater intrusion into a coastal aquifer. The identified tipping points are of three types: (a) spatial, for the particular aquifers (sections) along a coastline with depths that imply critical risk of full sea intrusion in response to even small sea-level rise; (b) temporal, for the critical sea-level rise and its timing, beyond which the change responses and the risk of complete sea intrusion in an aquifer shift abruptly from low to very high; and (c) managerial, for the critical minimum values of groundwater discharge and hydraulic head that inland water management must maintain in an aquifer in order to avoid rapid loss of control and complete sea intrusion in response to even small sea-level rise. The existence of a tipping point depends on highly variable aquifer properties and groundwater conditions, in combination with more homogeneous sea conditions. The generalized analytical model used in this study facilitates parsimonious quantification and screening of sea-intrusion risks and tipping points under such spatio-temporally different condition combinations along extended coastlines.

Keyword
sloping coastal aquifer, seawater intrusion, sea-level rise, sharp interface, tipping points
National Category
Environmental Sciences Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90014 (URN)10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014001 (DOI)000316998300008 ()
Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2013-05-20 Created: 2013-05-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Analytical single-potential, sharp-interface solutions for regional seawater intrusion in sloping unconfined coastal aquifers, with pumping and recharge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analytical single-potential, sharp-interface solutions for regional seawater intrusion in sloping unconfined coastal aquifers, with pumping and recharge
2012 (English)In: Journal of Hydrology, ISSN 0022-1694, E-ISSN 1879-2707, Vol. 416, 1-11 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contamination of groundwater by intruding seawater is a major problem in many parts of the world. This work derives novel analytical solutions for addressing this problem by extending the Girinskii-Strack concept of discharge potential to represent regional, steady-state, sharp-interface seawater intrusion in a sloping unconfined coastal aquifer. The aquifer has hydraulic conductivity K, is recharged uniformly at the rate r, receives an inflow at its land boundary and has a collector trough (or well gallery idealised as line sink) located at the distance I-w from the coastline that penetrates the aquifer and draws groundwater at the rate q(w). The theory rests on the approximation of a linearised gravity-part of the hydraulic potential. Analytical solutions for the discharge potential are derived, through which the hydraulic head, the flow depth and the sharp interface, and particularly the location of the interface toe, l(T), are also determined. These solutions simplify to known results for the horizontal aquifer case. The utility (and robustness to uncertainty regarding the base slope) of the results in applications is demonstrated in the regional example of the Akrotiri Coastal Aquifer, Cyprus. Recasting the problem in non-dimensional form provides a relationship for the dependence of the relative interface toe location l(T)/l(w) on the appropriately normalised difference between the groundwater flow just up-gradient of the collector trough, q(o), and the pumping rate, q(w), given values of the base slope, r/K and H-sea/l(w), where H-sea is the sea-surface elevation above the aquifer base at the coastline. That relationship frames a common groundwater management problem in coastal aquifers subject to a certain exploitation scheme, with l(T) as decision variable. In an exploratory demonstration study, non-dimensional sets of performance curves are calculated for the regional Akrotiri aquifer. In general, the derived analytical solutions can be used for first-order assessments of seawater intrusion vulnerability and management possibilities across a wide range of current regional coastal aquifer conditions and/or projected water demand, groundwater management and climatic change scenarios.

Keyword
Seawater intrusion, Sharp interface, Unconfined coastal aquifer, Aquifer sloping, Discharge potential, Groundwater management
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76321 (URN)10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.11.012 (DOI)000300755300001 ()
Note

3

Available from: 2012-05-15 Created: 2012-05-10 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Quantifying a safe operating space for human use of coastal groundwater under multiple change pressures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quantifying a safe operating space for human use of coastal groundwater under multiple change pressures
(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
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:nbn:se:su:diva-103170 (URN)
Available from: 2014-05-07 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2014-05-09Bibliographically approved
4. Intensively exploited Mediterranean aquifers: resilience to seawater intrusion and proximity to critical thresholds
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intensively exploited Mediterranean aquifers: resilience to seawater intrusion and proximity to critical thresholds
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.

Keyword
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:nbn:se:su:diva-103171 (URN)10.5194/hess-18-1663-2014 (DOI)000337949000009 ()
Available from: 2014-05-08 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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