Rapid coastal groundwater modelling and scenarios for strategic policy development

This PhD project is part of the research line 1.1. which focuses on operational management of saline intrusion on local (field) scale, mapping saline groundwater on regional scale and on predicting the future distribution of saline groundwater on global scale (this project). Apart from global modelling, the goal of this research line is to provide tools for rapid groundwater modelling for end users such as policy planners and private companies.

In the beginning of the project we focus on deriving missing global datasets such as coastal aquifer thickness, see Figure 1. Other datasets necessary for building groundwater models are available from open source datasets and from the PCR-GLOBWB model. Once all the datasets are created and collected we will build a set of 2D cross-sectional models along the global coastline. The SEAWAT code is part of the MODFLOW family and is used for modelling variable density flow throughout this project. These models will provide a stepping stone for testing various scenarios such as sea level rise, changes in recharge linked to climate change, increased groundwater extractions or reduced recharge due to growing urbanization of coastal zones.

It is not expected that these 2D models will provide accurate information in environments like deltas and islands. Therefore, in the next stage we will create tools for constructing 3D models in specific areas, using the already collected global datasets and the outputs from the cross-sectional models. The final part of this project is to compare the output of our models that use only global datasets with already existing local/regional models.

 

Figure 1 Global estimate of average coastal aquifer thickness