30% of global water use is non-sustainable

Using a newly developed index and our group’s global hydrological model PCR-GLOBWB Yoshi Wada and Marc Bierkens assessed the amount of groundwater consumption coming from non-renewable sources as well as the amount of surface water consumption exceeding environmental flow limits. They calculated that this non-sustainable blue water use exceeds 30% of the current water consumption and that this number will rise to 40% towards the end of the 21st century. When combined with virtual water use, the index, called the blue water sustainability index (BlWSI), can also be used to assess which part of individual products is from sustainable water.

Wada, Y.  and M.F.P.  Bierkens, 2014. Sustainability of global water use: past reconstruction and future projections. Environmental Research Letters 9, 104003 (17pp).




Modelling the saltwater intrusion throughout the Holocene

Joost Delsman of Deltares, with contributions from our group, modelled the Holocene development of the fresh-salt groundwater distribution along a coastal transect in the Netherlands.

To be able to understand and assess the current fresh-salt groundwater distribution and groundwater velocities one needs to go back a long time; this because of the large intertia of the system. Accurate predictions of the current  fresh-salt groundwater distribution is essential for meaningful projections of salt water intrusion under scenarios of future sea-level change, climate change and groundwater abstractions.

The reconstructed groundwater heads, chloride concentrations and groundwater origin matches very well with observations.

A movie showing the Holocene development can be found here!

The paper:

J.R. Delsman, K.R.M. Hu-a-ng, P.C. Vos, P.G.B. de Louw, G.H.P. Oude Essink, P.J. Stuyfzand, and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2014.Paleo-modeling of coastal saltwater intrusion during the Holocene: an application to the Netherlands. Hydrology and Earth System Science 18, 3891-3905.