Critical Zone Hydrology Group

wetland Karst discharge of iron rich groundwater to Dutch streams Geophysics Schermer Discharge measurements in a small brook near Mont Ventoux



Global change impacts

Sustainable aquifer use

Reactive transport
Systems analysis
Gw-Sw interactions
Managed recharge
Thermal energy & CO2



Valorisation and services

Photo gallery


Groundwater-surface water interactions

Theme leader: Dr. Hans Peter Broers

The interaction between groundwater and surface waters plays an important role in soil and water resources management, for example in the exchange of diffuse pollutants between the groundwater and surface water compartments and in the provision of sufficient groundwater base flow as a constraint for aquatic and terrestrial groundwater dependent ecosystems. VU University research focuses on the dynamics of groundwater-surface water interaction, studying water flow and transport of salts, nutrients and metals. The research aims to enhance our understanding of the role of aquifer heterogeneity in the interaction, the distribution of fast and slow transport routes through unsaturated and saturated zones, the relative contribution of deep and shallow groundwater at the outlet in nature reserves, polders and streams and the hydrogeochemical processes at the groundwater-surface water interface. Past and current projects emphasize the seepage processes and salinization patterns in Dutch polder areas, the transport routes and travel time distributions which determine nutrient fluxes to streams, the possible effects of climate change on these fluxes and the understanding of the interactions between environmental flows (EFlows) and ecosystems response. Transport studies at the reach, subcatchment and catchment scale, combining monitoring, modelling and environmental tracer techniques, help to unravel the mechanisms and time scales involved. A number of outstanding challenges remain, such as resolving the difficulties presented by disparate temporal scales at which surface and sub-surface flow and transport regimes operate, non-linearity in governing equations, data availability and upscaling from small-scale processes to catchment-scale behaviour


Adapting to drought and salinisation in the coupled groundwater-surface water system

PhD project: J. Delsman
Duration: 2010-2014
Funding: Knowledge for Climate program 'Climate proof fresh water supply'
Supervisors and collaborators:

Processes and Mechanisms of saline seepage and fresh water lenses

PhD project: P.G.B. de Louw
Duration: 2008-2013
Funding: Deltares Strategic Research Program
Supervisors and collaborators:

Optimization of field drainage and irrigation in brackish polders under climate change

PhD project: Jouke Velstra
Duration: 2010-2014
Funding: Living with Water Research Program
Supervisors and collaborators:

The Influence of gravel pit lakes on the hydrology and hydrochemistry of the surrounding aquifer

PhD project: Pauline Mollema
Duration: 2011-2015
Funding: The Italian study is partly funded by the City of Ravenna and ENI. WML supports the work in the Dutch gravel pits.

Water quality aspects of groundwater-surface water interaction in relation to nutrient transport to rivers

Identifying shallow and deep groundwater flow routes towards surface water and modeling and monitoring of nutrient transport following management measures
Duration: 2007-present
Funding: Deltares and TNO Strategic Research Programs, water board Rijn en Ijssel. New proposal submitted to EU Marie Curie program.

National scale assessment of groundwater-surface water interaction

National scale assessment of the dynamics of groundwater-surface water interaction for the Netherlands based on the Netherlands Hydrological Instrument
Duration: 2010-present
Funding: TNO Geo-Information Program

Climate change effects on groundwater surface water interaction

Climate Change scenarios predict a slowing down of a Dutch groundwater system an changes in irrigation and drainage patterns consequently leads changing loads of metals to streams
Duration: 2006-2012
Funding: EU FPVII Aquaterra


Last modified: Wed Dec 30 09:07:20 CET 2015