Tropical coasts have experienced rapid population growth and industrialisation. Thus in these areas the pressure on groundwater has increased particularly strongly and will continue to increase in the foreseeable future. | Photo: Nils Moosdorf, ZMT

Project Summary

Groundwater is a vital water resource for large parts of the world. It is used for drinking, irrigation and industry. However, population growth and increased water demand has put groundwater under pressure.

Overuse of this resource leads to reduced groundwater levels, land subsidence and irreversible loss of aquifer capacity. In coastal settings, groundwater is particularly vulnerable, because saltwater can contaminate it in the aquifer and render it unusable.

Tropical coasts have experienced rapid population growth and industrialisation. Thus in these areas the pressure on groundwater has increased particularly strongly and will continue to increase in the foreseeable future.

The project will build on previous results that have established methods to estimate coastal groundwater fluxes based on satellite imagery. This is an important method for tropical areas, because the available hydrogeological data are often scarce in these regions. From a combination of satellite-derived spatially explicit environmental and administratively resolved societal datasets an index
will be developed to address the groundwater stress in along the global coasts with a focus on tropical regions.

As all of the input data resolve annual developments, the index will represent an annual status and allow hindcasts and forecasts.

Based on the outcomes of this project, areas with high need for improved groundwater management will be identified for more detailed research at the regional scale. The developed index will provide a tool for decision making processes regarding focus areas of further coastal groundwater development priorisation.