Groundwater, a vital resource
Groundwater is the most important resource of freshwater on earth. It moves very slowly underground from areas of recharge (often rainfall) to discharge in springs, wells, rivers, lakes and oceans. The baseflow of rivers, the flow between rainfall (or snowmelt) events, is caused entirely by inflow from groundwater. Freshwater stored in aquifers is often the only source for drinking water or irrigation.
A changing world requires new prediction tools
Sustainable management of this precious resource requires sophisticated tools to assess the impact of anticipated changes in the hydrological system. The water demand for consumption and irrigation will increase due to an exponential growth of the world population and an envisioned expansion of biofuel production. Climate change will likely result in altered weather patterns, and a continued urbanization and deforestation will change the interaction between the groundwater system and the overlying land, surface water and atmosphere.
If you cannot compute it, it doesn’t exist
The objective of the geohydrology group is the development of innovative and powerful tools for the modeling of groundwater systems. Conceptual models are tested by formulating and implementing mathematical models, and performing calculations. If the computations cannot confirm the perceived flow pattern or effect, then it probably doesn’t exist.
Special problems need specialized modeling tools
Accurate analysis of special situations requires the development of specialized techniques and sophisticated tools. Management of groundwater resources in coastal aquifers requires tools that incorporate density differences and mixing between fresh and salt water. Management of groundwater in urban areas requires the incorporation of a highly heterogeneous man-made subsoil and interaction with canals, tunnels, drains and foundations. The design of large pumping stations needs tools for modeling horizontal wells and radial collector wells.