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Water 2013, 5(4), 1830-1847; doi:10.3390/w5041830

Saltwater Intrusion in Coastal Aquifers: A Primary Case Study along the Adriatic Coast Investigated within a Probabilistic Framework

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Chimica, Ambientale e dei Materiali (DICAM), Università di Bologna, Viale Risorgimento 2, Bologna 40136, Italy
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Received: 20 August 2013 / Revised: 20 October 2013 / Accepted: 11 November 2013 / Published: 19 November 2013
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Abstract

Environmentally sensitive areas along coastlines may be adversely affected by saltwater intrusion (SI), a condition which can be worsened by extensive groundwater extraction. Given the uncertainty of problem parameters, the risk of contamination of the vegetation capture zone needs to be cast in a probabilistic framework. In order to exemplify real situations existing along the Adriatic coast of Emilia-Romagna, a case study involving a pinewood strip and a well field drawing freshwater from an unconfined coastal aquifer was examined. On the basis of a widely adopted sharp interface formulation, key hydrogeological problem parameters were modeled as random variables, and a global sensitivity analysis was carried out to determine their influence on the position of the interface. This analysis utilized an efficient model reduction technique based on Polynomial Chaos Expansion. The risk that saltwater intrusion affects coastal vegetation was then evaluated via a two-step procedure by computing the probability that (i) the leading edge of the saltwater wedge reaches the sensitive area in the horizontal plane, and (ii) the freshwater/saltwater interface reaches the capture zone. The influence of the design parameters of the well field on the overall probability of contamination was investigated, revealing the primary role of the pumping discharge in the examined configuration.
Keywords: saltwater intrusion; coastal vegetation; stochastic approach; pumping well; risk analysis saltwater intrusion; coastal vegetation; stochastic approach; pumping well; risk analysis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Felisa, G.; Ciriello, V.; Di Federico, V. Saltwater Intrusion in Coastal Aquifers: A Primary Case Study along the Adriatic Coast Investigated within a Probabilistic Framework. Water 2013, 5, 1830-1847.

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