Critical Zone Hydrology Group

Ilha Geophysics at the beach Geophysics Castricum Geophysics Schermer V-notch installation





Valorisation and services



Services and consulting

Photo gallery


Groundwater in coastal and offshore environments

A main research theme comprises salinity patterns and groundwater flow systems in coastal plains and offshore sediments at all scales. These patterns result from flow systems acting under the present conditions of climate, landscape and drainage systems. However these conditions continuously change, while the salinity patterns adjust only slowly. As a result these patterns are not always in equilibrium and may reflect past climates, sea levels and landscapes. Fresh meteoric groundwater occurs in offshore formations, where coastal groundwater is seeping out, but it may also be found many miles offshore as stagnant paleogroundwater. This has been formed during Pleistocene low sea level stands. On the other hand brackish groundwater of past transgressions exist far inland. Spin off applied research is now focused on offshore meteoric groundwater as a potential source for water supply. Studies have been undertaken in Suriname, Thailand, Oman and recently Kuwait. These studies are in collaboration with Seaspringwater Ltd, a company launched by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Another related topic is the study on the interaction of beach groundwater flow with coastal morphology and fresh groundwater bodies below the dunes. This will provide insight in the influence of climate and sea level change via the groundwater system, but also give handles to enhance coastal progradation (beach drainage).
Research is also taking place in polders with brackish groundwater seepage in the Netherlands. Research focuses on the way the drainage system, comprising water courses, ditches and tile drains, influences the shallow fresh groundwater lenses on the fields and what the effects are of climate change. The more applied question is how we can improve drainage systems in brackish coastal plains in order to avoid soil salinization and to enhance self sufficiency of farmers during dry summers. Studies in the framework of LmW and SKB are undertaken in collaboration with Acacia Water Ltd, where Jouke Velstra aims to reframe these findings into a PhD Thesis.


Offshore meteoric groundwater

Studies for assessment of offshore meteoric groundwater and submarine groundwater discharge in Thailand, Kuwait, Oman and Netherlands


Duration: 1995-present
Funding: Partners for Water Fund (Netherlands), Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Oman Government, Dutch Water Supply Companies Dunea and Waternet

Climate proof fresh water supply

Adaptation strategies for self sufficiency in water supply of farmers in brackish environments


Duration: 2010-2015
Funding: Knowledge for Climate Research Program

Living with salt water

Research of salinization and coping strategies for water boards and farmers in Dutch polders


Duration: 2007-2011
Funding: Living with Water Research Program

Alternatives for sustainable land use and water management for and by farmers

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


Duration: 2011-2013
Funding: Stichting Kennistransfer Bodem (SKB), Province of North Holland, Water Board Hollands Noorderkwartier