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Spatial Data Management and Numerical Modelling: Demonstrating the Application of the QGIS-Integrated FREEWAT Platform at 13 Case Studies for Tackling Groundwater Resource Management

Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa, Italy
Department of Geological Sciences, School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Heroon Polytechneiou 9, 15780 Zografou, Athens, Greece
Department of Water Resources and Environmental Modeling, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamycka 129, 165 00 Prague, Czech Republic
National Institute of Hydrology and Water Management, Șoseaua București-Ploiești 97E, 013686 Bucharest, Romania
Institut für Angewandte Geowissenschaften, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstraße 9, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
Universität Bremen—Geologischer Dienst für Bremen, Leobener Str. 8, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Dept. of Environmental Engineering, Erciyes University, Talas Blv., 38039 Kayseri, Turkey
Regione Toscana, Via di Novoli 26, 50127 Firenze, Italy
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Volodymyrska St 60, 01033 Kyiv, Ukraine
Geological Survey of Estonia, F. R. Kreutzwaldi 5, 44314 Rakvere, Estonia
Energy and Water Agency, Qormi Road, 9043 Luqa, Malta
Aneri Eco Ingineering, Maistrova ul. 4, 9250 Radenci, Slovenia
Institute of Earth Sciences, Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana, Campus Trevano, CH-6952 Canobbio, Switzerland
UNESCO-IHP, Place de Fontenoy 7, 75007 Paris, France
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
TEA SISTEMI S.p.A., Via Ponte a Piglieri, 8, 56122 Pisa, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(1), 41; (registering DOI)
Received: 24 October 2019 / Revised: 9 December 2019 / Accepted: 13 December 2019 / Published: 20 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
Because of the spatial nature of groundwater-related data and their time component, effective groundwater management requires the application of methods pertaining to the Information and Communication Technologies sector, such as spatial data management and distributed numerical modelling. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the QGIS-integrated FREEWAT platform and an approach combining spatial data management and numerical models to target groundwater management issues. FREEWAT is a free and open source platform integrated in a Geographic Information System environment and embedding tools for pre- and post-processing of spatial data and integrating numerical codes for the simulation of the hydrological cycle, with a main focus on groundwater. To this aim, this paper briefly presents the FREEWAT platform, introduces the FREEWAT approach, and showcases 13 case studies in European and non-European countries where the FREEWAT platform was applied. Application of the FREEWAT platform to real-world case studies is presented for targeting management of coastal aquifers, ground- and surface-water interaction, climate change impacts, management of transboundary aquifers, rural water management and protection of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. In this sense, compared to other existing software suites, FREEWAT allows data analysis and visualization to accomplish each step of the modelling workflow, i.e., from data analytics, to conceptual model definition, to numerical modelling and reporting of results. The presented experiences demonstrate that improved access to data and the portability of models and models’ results can help to promote water sustainability from the local- to the basin-scale. Furthermore, FREEWAT may represent a valuable tool to target the objective of increasing the capabilities of public authorities and private companies to manage groundwater resources by means of up-to-date, robust, well-documented and reliable software, without entailing the need of costly licensing, nowadays seldom affordable by public water authorities. Based on the strengths highlighted, the FREEWAT platform is a powerful tool for groundwater resources management, and for data collection, sharing, implementation and comparison of scenarios, for supporting planning and decision-making. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater management; spatial database; QGIS; MODFLOW; FREEWAT groundwater management; spatial database; QGIS; MODFLOW; FREEWAT
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De Filippis, G.; Pouliaris, C.; Kahuda, D.; Vasile, T.A.; Manea, V.A.; Zaun, F.; Panteleit, B.; Dadaser-Celik, F.; Positano, P.; Nannucci, M.S.; Grodzynskyi, M.; Marandi, A.; Sapiano, M.; Kopač, I.; Kallioras, A.; Cannata, M.; Filiali-Meknassi, Y.; Foglia, L.; Borsi, I.; Rossetto, R. Spatial Data Management and Numerical Modelling: Demonstrating the Application of the QGIS-Integrated FREEWAT Platform at 13 Case Studies for Tackling Groundwater Resource Management. Water 2020, 12, 41.

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