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Groundwater availability and evolution of seawater intrusion in overexploited aquifers in arid zones under climate change scenarios

IWRA 2020 Online Conference - Addressing Groundwater Resilience under Climate Change
THEME 1. Groundwater Natural Resouces Assessment Under Climate Change
Author(s): Imaz-Lamadrid, M.A., Wurl, J., Gutiérrez-González, M.V.G

Imaz-Lamadrid, M.A.1, Wurl, J.1, Gutiérrez-González, M.V.G2
1. Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Área de Conocimiento de Ciencias del Mar y de la Tierra
2. Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Área de Conocimiento de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades

Keyword(s): Groundwater modeling, overexploitation, climate change, salinization


(a) Purpose or objectives and status of study or research hypothesis

The main purpose of the research is to forecast the evolution of two overexploited aquifers under different climate change scenarios including the interaction with surface water and the evolution of seawater intrusion as a source of additional salinity for the near future (2040).


(b) Key issue(s) or problem(s) addressed

In arid and semiarid zones where droughts are common, water resources are scarce and highly sensitive to anthropogenic activities. With demographic and economic growth, the aquifers are facing increasing pressure through an augment of water consumption, which generates extractions higher than the natural recharge. The overexploitation of aquifers in arid zones generates less availability per capita and a gradual loss of water quality. Under the predicted climate change scenarios (less winter rainfall, increase of evapotranspiration, extension of dry season, sea level rise), the situation would be expected to worsen. As a result, the availability, coverage and access to water will be at risk, in violation of the human right to water.


(c) Methodology or approach used

Climate change scenarios were defined using various sources. Then, two tridimensional groundwater models coupled with streamflow and seawater intrusion simulations were developed using Model Muse software. The variables necessary for the operation of the models were obtained from various sources or generated for this study. Models were adjusted and calibrated. Then, climate change scenarios were introduced and simulations were performed for the near future (2040).


(d) Results and conclusions derived from the project

Results indicate that recharge of freshwater (in situ rainfall and streamflow) will be reduced; therefore, groundwater levels will continue depleting and seawater intrusion will advance inland, increasing salinity near the coast. This modification of groundwater levels will affect the flow of freshwater in springs and coastal lagoons. The exacerbation of overexploitation will reduce water availability and quality for domestic and industrial use. A reduction of pumping, induced recharge, water harvesting, among other techniques will be necessary to reduce the pressure to aquifers in arid zones.


(e) Implications of the project relevant to selected conference theme, theory and/or practice

Climate change is modifying the behavior of environmental systems, which will inevitably force societies to adapt. In the context of our investigation, it is vitally important to promote methodologies that allow quantifying the effects of climate change, so adaptation and mitigation measures can be promoted.

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