Development of sustainable adaptation strategies for water management under conditions of climatic and demographic change

At present, the application of density-dependent groundwater modeling in the field of water supply in the North German coastal regions is rather the exception. However, the anticipated effects of climate change, such as sea level rise and altered precipitation distribution, may stimulate saltwater intrusion into the coastal aquifers, especially when combined with increased groundwater requirements, and may cause degradation of water quality.

For the sustainable management of coastal aquifers, bearing in mind climatic and demographic changes, monitoring of the freshwater/saltwater boundary is required. Groundwater flow modeling taking density into account is an important tool for understanding the system. The main objective and challenge for subproject 4 of the NAWAK network was the derivation of 3D subsoil information and in particular the determination of the present state of the salinity boundary.

In terms of methodology, this subproject focused on geophysical methods and especially on aeroelectromagnetic data whose implementation in geological / hydrogeological models and 3D parametrization of the subsurface holds research potential and scope for interpretation.

In this subproject, the 3D distribution of saltwater-affected areas in the subsurface was developed for different model areas. In detail, the data for groundwater modeling has been improved by using aeroelectromagnetic data. This included comparison with complementary ground-based geophysical measurements, as well as data inversion and interpretation techniques.

The developed approaches can be transferred to other regions.


Interim results from the INIS projects

Project lead

Dr. Helga Wiederhold

If you have any questions about the topic or the project, please send an email to presse(at)


GRS (coordination)




07/2013 - 06/2016