Sustainable Solutions: Groundwater Salinization

The project seeks sustainable solutions against groundwater salinization in coastal areas around the world.

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IIASA will analyze the biophysical and socioeconomic settings in the case study regions and around the world. Scientists will develop profiles that can be used as a preliminary, rapid assessment tools to help indicate areas that are currently facing facing groundwater salinization in coastal areas or will face similar challenges in the future. An analysis will be made as to whether the areas in question could benefit from the technologies being investigated and tested under this project by ARCADIS. IIASA will also investigate what factors could indicate the effectiveness and sustainability of the projects. 

Future scenarios will be developed that are consistent across sectors to analyze where future problems with groundwater salinization will lie and the longevity and robustness of the proposed technologies will be tested for particular regions. In this regard, IIASA will develop scenarios to look at forthcoming challenges and provide information and analysis on the following;

  • current populations
  • income and poverty rates
  • educational attainment
  • projections of how these will develop under scenarios of the future  
  • linked with current climate change scenario projections
  • institutional capacity

Sector activity levels

  • As agriculture is globally the largest water consumer, there will be a key investigation of water for food. The current state and possible scenario-based future developments in the agriculture and energy sectors will be investigated to show competition for water resources and the pressure on groundwater systems. Energy and agricultural models, as well as recent results and analysis available through the WFaS network, will be applied. 

Water Balance

  • IIASA will apply several macro-scale hydrologic models to provide a multi-model ensemble assessment of what the models can tell us about water availability now and under  future scenarios.
  • Water uses will also be calculated by several macro-scale models, according to the sector activity level assessment above, in order to assess changing demands and competition for water across sectors.

The above components will be combined to provide

  • A typology of challenges faced in these regions along with a classification system providing indicators that can be used to identify where similar situations are faced and similar solutions would likely be effective.
  • Current states of food, water, and energy security.
  • Analysis of how economic development and improvements of food and water security can impact water stress. (i.e., how does achievement of the MDGs or proposed SGSs impact aquifer water stress)
  • Assessment of the impact of the proposed technologies on improving water security in the case study regions.
  • Assessment of criteria for judging the robustness and sustainability of the technologies. 


  • USAiD - USA
  • ARCADIS – Infrastructure, Water, Environment, Buildings

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Last edited: 31 August 2015


18.11.2014 - 17.11.2017

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313