The visit to Mexico in December 2016 was followed by missions to Cyprus (January), Brazil (February), Vietnam (End of February) and China (March 2017). During the visits, Subsurface Water Solutions (SWS) concepts were presented to stakeholders and the applicability of SWS in the local context was discussed. Knowledge exchange with stakeholders is considered crucial in the long-term process of initiating additional SWS implementation sites. Only under consideration of local knowledge and expertise will SWS technologies enable more sustainable freshwater supply in salinized coastal aquifers in different regions worldwide.
Treated wastewater as a source for infiltration in Cyprus
The mission to Cyprus assessed that in some coastal regions 90% of the drinking water is produced by reverse osmosis, showing the seriousness of freshwater scarcity. The scientific community across the south and north border (Cyprus University, Cyprus Institute and Eastern Mediterranean University) shared the view that countermeasures for the depletion of groundwater resources and the creeping salinization are needed.
Public authorities (Waterboards, Environmental Ministry and agricultural office) were also eager to cooperate. Researchers as well as consultancies (Nireas, Cyfield, Disy) presented capabilities and expertise in facilitating a potential pilot project. Identified areas for follow up investigations include the Germasogeia and Akrotiri Aquifer near Limassol and Famagusta aquifer in the east, as well as the Kiti aquifer near Lanarca. In most areas, only treated wastewater can be considered as a source for infiltration because precipitation and surface water sources are already used efficiently.
Brazil: Nine potential future application options for SWS technologies
The visit to Pernambuco in Brazil was coordinated with the site partner Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), the associate partner Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) and the State Agency for Water and Climate (APAC). Meetings with public stakeholders (State Environmental Agency - CPRH, Recife Municipality – CSURB and PCR-SDSMA, Agricultural Research Institute - IPA) confirmed that salt water intrusion is a challenge for the coastal areas and periodic shortages of freshwater are increasingly occurring in recent years.
Existing knowledge on the situation of the groundwater aquifers and interest on conducting further exchange on research was identified with the scientific community during conference meetings with five major universities and research institutes as well as the research funding organisation FACEPE. Meetings with companies (TPF, Aqua Pocos) showed that capacities for development of a project exist and that solutions are being demanded (Water supply company Compesa and holiday resort Enotel). As a result, nine potential future application options for SWS technologies were identified which promise a variety of future cooperation options for the SubSol project consortium.
Vietnam: New insights on saltwater intrusion and mitigation efforts
In Vietnam, adelphi and BGR conferred with various public institutions and authorities about the viability of SWS technologies such as the National Center for Water Resources Investigation and Planning (NAWAPI; official SUBSOL associate partner), the Ministry of Construction, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE), the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as well as the Division of Water Resources Planning and Investigation for the South of Vietnam (DWAPIS) which unanimously confirmed the issue of saltwater intrusion.
These meetings were complemented by exchange with six major universities. All scientists provided valuable insights into current research on saltwater intrusion and mitigation efforts in the South of Vietnam and expressed great interest in SWS technologies. In addition, ideas on SWS technologies in Vietnam were exchanged with representatives of Saigon Water Cooperation (SAWACO), the local engineering firm SAMECO and presented to international cooperation organizations during a roundtable discussion subsequent to the German Science Day in Ho Chi Minh City.
China: Laizhou Bay suffers from serious saltwater intrusion
In China, the official SUBSOL associate partner, Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology Department of the Tianjin Center of the China Geological Survey, organized a conference and study tour in the city of Weifang in Shandong province close to the shores of the Laizhou Bay. Attendees included the SUBSOL consortium members adelphi and GEUS, experts from the Water Resources Research Institute of Shandong Province (WRISD) and representatives from the Weifang Bureau of Land Resources.
Furthermore, discussions on SWS in China took place with the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design (GIWP), the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research as well as Beijing IEDA Protected Horticulture Technology Co. Ltd. During the discussions, all stakeholders affirmed that saltwater intrusion is a serious issue in the Laizhou Bay area and expressed interest in further assessing opportunities to cooperate with the SUBSOL consortium.
Findings from the assessment visits will be shared with- and discussed among the SUBSOL consortium during the 18-month SubSol meeting in April. Subsequently, further decisions on in-depth assessments of the feasibility of SWS technologies in specific regions will be jointly elaborated upon.