Indian Forum for Water Adroit

Estimating the thickness of unconsolidated coastal aquifers along the global coastline

Pankaj Dey

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  • Institute : Indian Institute of Science
  • Programming language : MATLAB, R

Abstract.
Knowledge of aquifer thickness is crucial for setting up numerical groundwater flow models to support groundwater resource management and control. Fresh groundwater reserves in coastal aquifers are particularly under threat of salinization and depletion as a result of climate change, sea-level rise, and excessive groundwater withdrawal under urbanization. To correctly assess the possible impacts of these pressures we need better information about subsurface conditions in coastal zones. Here, we propose a method that combines available global datasets to estimate, along the global coastline, the aquifer thickness in areas formed by unconsolidated sediments. To validate our final estimation results, we collected both borehole and literature data. Additionally, we performed a numerical modelling study to evaluate the effects of varying aquifer thickness and geological complexity on simulated saltwater intrusion. The results show that our aquifer thickness estimates can indeed be used for regional-scale groundwater flow modelling but that for local assessments additional geological information should be included. The final dataset has been made publicly available (https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.880771).
Link: Zamrsky, D., Oude Essink, G. H. P., and Bierkens, M. F. P.: Estimating the thickness of unconsolidated coastal aquifers along the global coastline, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 1591-1603, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-10-1591-2018, 2018.
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