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Volume 22, issue 5 | Copyright

Special issue: Assessing impacts and adaptation to global change in water...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 3053-3074, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 May 2018

Research article | 30 May 2018

Integrated assessment of future potential global change scenarios and their hydrological impacts in coastal aquifers – a new tool to analyse management alternatives in the Plana Oropesa-Torreblanca aquifer

David Pulido-Velazquez1,2, Arianna Renau-Pruñonosa3, Carlos Llopis-Albert4, Ignacio Morell3, Antonio-Juan Collados-Lara1, Javier Senent-Aparicio2, and Leticia Baena-Ruiz1 David Pulido-Velazquez et al.
  • 1Instituto Geológico y Minero de España, Granada, Spain
  • 2Universidad Católica de Murcia, Murcia, Spain
  • 3Jaume I University, Castellón, Spain
  • 4Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain

Abstract. Any change in the components of the water balance in a coastal aquifer, whether natural or anthropogenic, can alter the freshwater–salt water equilibrium. In this sense climate change (CC) and land use and land cover (LULC) change might significantly influence the availability of groundwater resources in the future. These coastal systems demand an integrated analysis of quantity and quality issues to obtain an appropriate assessment of hydrological impacts using density-dependent flow solutions. The aim of this work is to perform an integrated analysis of future potential global change (GC) scenarios and their hydrological impacts in a coastal aquifer, the Plana Oropesa-Torreblanca aquifer. It is a Mediterranean aquifer that extends over 75km2 in which important historical LULC changes have been produced and are planned for the future. Future CC scenarios will be defined by using an equi-feasible and non-feasible ensemble of projections based on the results of a multi-criteria analysis of the series generated from several regional climatic models with different downscaling approaches. The hydrological impacts of these CC scenarios combined with future LULC scenarios will be assessed with a chain of models defined by a sequential coupling of rainfall-recharge models, crop irrigation requirements and irrigation return models (for the aquifer and its neighbours that feed it), and a density-dependent aquifer approach. This chain of models, calibrated using the available historical data, allow testing of the conceptual approximation of the aquifer behaviour. They are also fed with series representatives of potential global change scenarios in order to perform a sensitivity analysis regarding future scenarios of rainfall recharge, lateral flows coming from the hydraulically connected neighbouring aquifer, agricultural recharge (taking into account expected future LULC changes) and sea level rise (SLR). The proposed analysis is valuable for improving our knowledge about the aquifer, and so comprises a tool to design sustainable adaptation management strategies taking into account the uncertainty in future GC conditions and their impacts. The results show that GC scenarios produce significant increases in the variability of flow budget components and in the salinity.

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We have developed a method to assess hydrological impacts of future potential global change (GC) scenarios in a coastal aquifer, the Plana Oropesa-Torreblanca aquifer. Quantity and quality issues are simultaneously considered. It includes the generation of potential GC scenarios involving different sources of uncertainty and an integrated modelling framework to assess their impacts. It is a valuable tool to improve our aquifer knowledge and to help in the analysis of management strategies.
We have developed a method to assess hydrological impacts of future potential global change (GC)...