Several coastal areas in the Netherlands face problems related to the salinization of groundwater and surface water. Especially when river discharge is low, the interface between fresh and salt water can move far inland. In the delta area of South Holland, systems exist to mitigate this effect that is harmful to most agricultural and ecological systems. Large reservoirs of fresh water, like the IJsselmeer, can be used to flush the system with fresh water and push the fresh/salt water interface back. For the water authorities to respond adequately to an acute salinization threat, they need to be notified well in advance. Current models for river discharge need to be improved to meet this requirement. During my PhD, I will try to improve discharge forecasts for the river Rhine that can in turn be used to forecast salt intrusion in South Holland. Contact with the water authorities will be important to make sure the models suit their needs for practical applications. This research is part of a larger research project called SaltiSolutions, which aims to improve understanding of the salinization process and its impact on fresh water availability.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.