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Designing effective water management strategies of coastal aquifers at risk of salt water intrusion

Aunay Bertrand

In many Mediterranean coastal areas, agriculture, drinking water supply, tourism and industry strongly depend on groundwater resources. As a result of the significant economic development during the last three decades along the coast, water abstractions from coastal aquifers have increased tremendously, frequently leading to overexploitation and saltwater intrusion. In such situations, policy makers try to reduce abstraction (well licensing, set up quota or pricing) and to increase alternative water supply. Geological, hydrogeological and socio-economic studies, as a pluridisciplinary approach, are then leaded in parallel on a coastal Mediterranean aquifer in order to design effective water management strategies on a sensitive area to seawater intrusion risk: the Roussillon. Geology supplies geometry and architecture of the different aquifers, hydrogeology assess the seawater intrusion risk while socio-economic study conducts consultations stakeholders analysis in the aim of suggest water management and policy options acceptable for mostly.
This poster then highlights on one hand the importance to gain a good knowledge about the geometry of the groundwater reservoirs in order to run some numerical modelling and on the other hands, economic interests at stake, diversity of viewpoints expressed by stakeholders and political dimension of the issue. These interests are likely to be encountered for all similar situations on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea.
This work is carried out in the framework of a PhD thesis co funded by the Regional Council of Languedoc Roussillon and by the BRGM (French geological survey).