Assessing the impacts of climate change on sustainable management of coastal aquifers

Unsal B., YAĞBASAN Ö., Yazicigil H.

ENVIRONMENTAL EARTH SCIENCES, vol.72, no.6, pp.2183-2193, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 72 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12665-014-3130-z
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2183-2193
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Water is a vital resource for the survival of not only human population, but also almost all ecosystems. Constituting 30 % of all freshwater, groundwater is the main source of available freshwater. Coastal aquifers, which serve as the major freshwater source for densely populated zones, are of vital importance and quite vulnerable to climate change. This paper examines the significant consequences of climate change, decreasing recharge rates, sea-level rise and increasing freshwater demand on the sustainable management of coastal aquifers, via a hypothetical case study. A 3-D numerical model is developed using SEAWAT, to simulate a circular island aquifer in the form of a freshwater lens surrounded by saltwater. Issues such as sloping land surface resulting in landward migration of the coastal boundary and transient response of the system due to pumping are considered through a set of predictive simulations. To assess the sensitivity of the model results to important parameters, a sensitivity analysis is performed. Results of this research, revealing the effects of mentioned pressures on the long-term sustainability of the freshwater resource, are evaluated on the basis of groundwater reserves and intrusion of the freshwater-saltwater interface in lateral and vertical directions. These outcomes are further used to determine the sustainable pumping rate of the system, considering both quantity and quality of the groundwater resources.