Water Solutions

Scientific analysis of reference sites in ‘Water Resources Management’

Related Work Package: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3
Keywords : Aquifer storage and recovery, Freshkeeper, Freshmaker, Coastal aquifers, Freshwater, Salinization, Seasonal water shortage, Subsurface water technologies

Based on the first experiences during the pilots at the Subsol reference sites, researchers from KWR, Vitens, and the Technical University of Delft have evaluated the potential of these subsurface water solution for coastal zones. The resulting research paper titled 'How Subsurface Water Technologies (SWT) can Provide Robust, Effective, and Cost-efficient Solutions for Freshwater Management in Coastal Zones' was accepted for publication in the scientific journal 'Water Resources Mangement' after peer-review. Water Resources Management is an international, multidisciplinary forum for the publication of original contributions and the exchange of knowledge and experience on the management of water resources. In particular, the journal publishes contributions on water resources assessment, development, conservation and control, emphasizing policies and strategies.



Freshwater resources in coastal zones are limited while demands are high, resulting in problems like seasonal water shortage, overexploitation of freshwater aquifers, and seawater intrusion. Three subsurface water technologies (SWT) that can provide robust, effective, and cost-efficient solutions to manage freshwater resources in the subsurface are evaluated using groundwater modelling and validation at field-scale: (1) ASR-coastal to store freshwater surpluses in confined brackish-saline aquifers for recovery in times of demand, (2) the Freshkeeper to counteract salinization of well fields by interception and desalination of upconing brackish groundwater, and (3) the Freshmaker to combine ASR and Freshkeeper to enlarge the volume of natural freshwater lenses for later abstraction. The evaluation indicates that SWT can be used in various hydrogeological settings for various hydrogeological problems like seawater intrusion, upconing, and bubble drift during ASR and have significant economic benefits. Although only sporadically applied to date, we foresee that SWT will stimulate (cost-)efficient and sustainable exploitation of various freshwater sources (like groundwater, rainwater, treated waste water, surface water) in coastal zones. Prolonged SWT testing in the current pilots, replication of SWT in other areas worldwide, and the development of technical and non-technical support tools are required to facilitate potential end-users in investment decision making and SWT implementation.




Click here to access the online article, or here for the .pdf version.