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Hans Estrup Andersen

A conceptual model for the analysis of multi-stressors in linked groundwater–surface water systems

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  • Vince P. Kaandorp, Deltares, Utrecht University, Utrecht
  • ,
  • Eugenio Molina-Navarro
  • Hans E. Andersen
  • John P. Bloomfield, British Geological Survey
  • ,
  • Martina J.M. Kuijper, Deltares
  • ,
  • Perry G.B. de Louw, Deltares

Groundwater and surface water are often closely coupled and are both under the influence of multiple stressors. Stressed groundwater systems may lead to a poor ecological status of surface waters but to date no conceptual framework to analyse linked multi-stressed groundwater – surface water systems has been developed. In this paper, a framework is proposed showing the effect of groundwater on surface waters in multiple stressed systems. This framework will be illustrated by applying it to four European catchments, the Odense, Denmark, the Regge and Dinkel, Netherlands, and the Thames, UK, and by assessing its utility in analysing the propagation or buffering of multi-stressors through groundwater to surface waters in these catchments. It is shown that groundwater affects surface water flow, nutrients and temperature, and can both propagate stressors towards surface waters and buffer the effect of stressors in space and time. The effect of groundwater on drivers and states depends on catchment characteristics, stressor combinations, scale and management practises. The proposed framework shows how groundwater in lowland catchments acts as a bridge between stressors and their effects within surface waters. It shows water managers how their management areas might be influenced by groundwater, and helps them to include this important, but often overlooked part of the water cycle in their basin management plans. The analysis of the study catchments also revealed a lack of data on the temperature of both groundwater and surface water, while it is an important parameter considering future climate warming.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Pages (from-to)880-895
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • DPSIR framework, Flow, Groundwater – Surface water interaction, Multiple stressors, Nutrients

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