Fresh groundwater resources in a large sand replenishment

Huizer, Sebastian; Oude Essink, Gualbert H. P.; Bierkens, Marc F. P.

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 (21.5 million m 3) – 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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Huizer, Sebastian / Oude Essink, Gualbert H. P. / Bierkens, Marc F. P.: Fresh groundwater resources in a large sand replenishment. 2016. Copernicus Publications.

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