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Volume 20, issue 8 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3149-3166, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-3149-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 04 Aug 2016

Research article | 04 Aug 2016

Fresh groundwater resources in a large sand replenishment

Sebastian Huizer1,2, Gualbert H. P. Oude Essink1,2, and Marc F. P. Bierkens1,2 Sebastian Huizer et al.
  • 1Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Unit Subsurface and Groundwater Systems, Deltares, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. The anticipation of sea-level rise and increases in extreme weather conditions has led to the initiation of an innovative coastal management project called the Sand Engine. In this pilot project a large volume of sand (21.5millionm3) – also called sand replenishment or nourishment – was placed on the Dutch coast. The intention is that the sand is redistributed by wind, current, and tide, reinforcing local coastal defence structures and leading to a unique, dynamic environment. In this study we investigated the potential effect of the long-term morphological evolution of the large sand replenishment and climate change on fresh groundwater resources. The potential effects on the local groundwater system were quantified with a calibrated three-dimensional (3-D) groundwater model, in which both variable-density groundwater flow and salt transport were simulated. Model simulations showed that the long-term morphological evolution of the Sand Engine results in a substantial growth of fresh groundwater resources, in all adopted climate change scenarios. Thus, the application of a local sand replenishment could provide coastal areas the opportunity to combine coastal protection with an increase of the local fresh groundwater availability.

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The anticipation of sea-level rise has led to an innovative project called the Sand Engine, where a large volume of sand was placed on the Dutch coast. The intention is that the sand is redistributed by wind, current and tide, reinforcing coastal defence structures. Model simulations show that this large sand replenishment can result in a substantial growth of fresh groundwater resources. Thus, sand replenishments could combine coastal protection with an increase of fresh groundwater resources.
The anticipation of sea-level rise has led to an innovative project called the Sand Engine,...
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