Experimental and Numerical Study to Investigate the Impact of Changing the Boundary Water Levels on Saltwater Intrusion in Coastal Aquifers

Hany F. Abd-Elhamid, Gamal M. Abdel-Aal, Maha Fahmy, Mohsen Sherif, Martina Zeleňáková, Ismail Abd-Elaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Experimental and numerical models can be used to investigate saltwater intrusion (SWI) in coastal aquifers. Sea level rise (SLR) and decline of freshwater heads due to climate change are the two key variables that may affect saltwater intrusion. This study aims to give a better understanding of the impact of increasing seawater levels and decreasing freshwater heads due to climate change and increasing abstraction rates due to overpopulation using experimental and numerical models on SWI. The experimental model was conducted using a flow tank and the SEAWAT code was used for the numerical simulation. Different scenarios were examined to assess the effect of seawater rise and landside groundwater level decline. The experimental and numerical studies were conducted on three scenarios: increasing seawater head by 25%, 50% and 75% from the difference between seawater and freshwater heads, decreasing freshwater head by 75%, 50% and 25% from the difference between seawater and freshwater heads, and a combination of these two scenarios. Good agreement was attained between experimental and numerical results. The results showed that increasing the seawater level and decreasing freshwater head increased saltwater intrusion, but the combination of these two scenarios had a severe effect on saltwater intrusion. The numerical model was then applied to a real case study, the Biscayne aquifer, Florida, USA. The results indicated that the Biscayne aquifer is highly vulnerable to SWI under the possible consequences of climate change. A 25 cm seawater rise and 28% reduction in the freshwater flux would cause a loss of 0.833 million m3 of freshwater storage per each kilometer width of the Biscayne aquifer. This study provides a better understanding and a quantitative assessment for the impacts of changing water levels’ boundaries on intrusion of seawater in coastal aquifers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number631
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2022

Keywords

  • Biscayne aquifer
  • Experimental model
  • Numerical model
  • Sea level rise
  • Seawater intrusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry

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