News

Coastar: Fighting drought by capturing meltwater from mountains in Chile

Posted on 31 December 2018

dws-coastar-rio-elqui-770pxCoaster-consortium partners consisting of consultancy firm Arcadis and research institutes KWR and Deltares, got green light to start a groundwater catchment project in the basin of the Elqui river. The three partners use the Coastal Aquifer Storage And Recovery (Coastar) concept to create a robust underground water storage to bridge the gap between water supply and water demand in time and space. The project will start in April 2019 and will be implemented in 2020.

dws-coastar-chili-agriculture-350px
  Orchards with fruit trees consume much water during the summer. (photo: Deltares)

Over extraction of groundwater
Certain regions in Chile are characterised as dry areas, partly because Chile currently takes too much groundwater in some places.

In order to cope with the growing demand for freshwater for agriculture, industry and households, new fresh water sources are being investigated besides water from rivers and lakes.

The depletion of the ground - and surface water resources without providing for the maintenance and expansion of these sources will eventually lead to shortages and possible salinisation of the water.

Subsurface catchment
The concept of Coastar has specially been developed for large scale subsurface catchment of fresh water such as the meltwater from the mountains, which is normally discharged via the rivers into the sea.

"During this project, we will investigate how we can optimise this mechanism", explained Esther van Baaren, on behalf of Deltares. "By infiltration of the water, the groundwater supplies are replenished so they can recover over time. The groundwater reservoir thus remains in use for example, for irrigation of the olive groves", Van Baaren added.

The consortium cooperates with Van Essen, Fugro, Hellema and regional partners such as Corporación de Desarrollo Productivo, Rabo Chile, Junta de Vigilancia Rio Elqui y sus Afluentes, Region de Comquimbo and the University of La Serena.

This news item was originally published on the websites of Deltares and Allied Waters.


Read also on this website
Deltares seeks oceanic islands to test SeepCat for fresh groundwater protection, 9 August 2016
Arcadis and KWR develop investment decision tool for six fresh groundwater pilots worldwide, 8 January 2016
Expertise: Enabling delta life
Country: Chili


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