Critical Zone Hydrology Group



Global change impacts

Sustainable aquifer use

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



Valorisation and services

Photo gallery


Systems analysis of coastal aquifers

Theme leader: Prof. Pieter Stuyfzand

Coastal aquifers are highly complex systems due to: (a) small scale variations in lithology, surface-groundwater interactions and water density; (b) added dynamism because of fluctuations in sea level, coastline position and river discharge; and (c) multiple anthropogenic impacts. Due to their location in often densely populated areas, coastal aquifers tend to be particularly data-rich. Their groundwater typically shows a broad spectrum in terms of origin, salinity, alkalinity, redox potential, extent of ion exchange and degree of pollution. Managed aquifer recharge is often applied to reduce salinization risks and to store surface water for later use. Coastal aquifers are also extremely vulnerable to effects of climate change, especially in delta's and estuaries, due to a combination of sea level rise, land subsidence, increased use of the subsurface in urban areas, and expected higher frequencies of river flood and drought occurrences. Thus, a systems approach is needed to order the various types of information, to prepare maps showing how past and current distributions of the hydrological and hydrochemical systems, and how water quality evolves along flow lines within the aquifer system.
The Group's systems research aims at the development of tools to: (i) manage and evaluate large hydrochemical data-sets; (ii) map hydrochemical systems and trends in spatial patterns; (iii) establish natural background values of groundwater composition and pollution levels; (iv) derive hydrological system parameters through analytical approaches; and (v) derive hydrological characteristics from hydrochemical data. These tools are applied to and based on data from various coastal aquifers in the Netherlands, the Eastern Po plain (Italy), Portugal (Aveiro area where the Group's hydrologic field training takes place), and Lebanon.

Current projects

Public water supply well fields in the Netherlands, as a monitoring network to establish natural backgrounds and trends in groundwater quality and aquifer vulnerability.

PhD project: I. (Igor) Mendizabal
Period: 2008-2011
Funding: Joint Research Program of Dutch Waterworks (BTO) and Delft Cluster (project CT 05.30).

Analysis and management of the Damour coastal, dolomitic limestone aquifer, South Beirut, Lebanon.

PhD project: W. (Wisam) Khadra
Period: 2010-2014
Funding: Partial funding by International Navigation Trading and Contracting Co. (INTC), Lebanon.

Pollutant peaking in groundwater catchments for drinking water supply in the NE Netherlands

PhD project: M. (Martin) de Jonge
Period: 2009-2015
Funding: Vitens Water Supply Company.

Effects of gravel pit lakes on the hydrology and hydrochemistry of the surrounding aquifer and river basins

PhD project: P. (Pauline) Mollema
Period: 2011-2015
Funding: This Italian study is partly funded by the City of Ravenna and ENI. WML supports the work in the investigated Dutch gravel pits.

Dynamics of plant ecology and base chemistry in fen and fen meadows in the Netherlands

PhD project: C. (Camiel) Aggenbach
Period: 2005-2011
Funding: Joint Research Program of Dutch Waterworks (BTO).

Sustainable Development and Management of the Shallow Subsurface

PhD project: D. (Derk) van Ree
Period: 2011-2016
Funding: Deltares.



Last modified: Mon Dec 28 14:55:41 CET 2015