Saline seepage in deltaic areas

On 6 December 2013, Perry de Louw will defend his PhD thesis on «Saline seepage in deltaic areas – Preferential groundwater discharge through boils and interactions between thin rainwater lenses and upward saline». More than 50% of world’s population lives in coastal areas and is largely dependent on fresh groundwater resources for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes. However, in many coastal areas, groundwater is brackish to saline which may pose problems for the sustainable exploitation of fresh groundwater. In low-lying coastal areas that lie below mean sea level, saline groundwater may reach the surface by upward groundwater flow. This process is referred to as «saline seepage» and is the main subject of this PhD thesis.

2013.12.06 De LouwSaline seepage leads to the salinization of surface waters, shallow groundwater and soil water in the root zone. Climate change and future rise in sea level are expected to increase saline seepage and reduce the availability of both fresh surface water and groundwater. Predicting effects of future changes, defining effective water management strategies for a climate proof sustainable freshwater supply and successful implementation of any measure are only meaningful when all relevant processes involving saline seepage are fully understood. This thesis describes the spatial variability and temporal dynamics of salinization processes involving saline seepage in deltaic areas. The research focused on the preferential saline seepage through boils leading to surface water salinization (Part I) and the interaction between thin rainwater lenses and saline seepage leading to the salinization of shallow groundwater and the root zone (Part II). These two processes were identified as important contributors to the salinization of the Dutch delta which was the study area of this PhD research.


acrobat icon Saline seepage in deltaic areas, by Perry de Louw (2013), PhD thesis, VU University Amsterdam, 202 pp.