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Project Integrated Water Management in Coastal Drainage Basins: challenges and adaptation strategies within the framework of climate change

Development of integrated models of water management for a Decision Support System taking into account stakeholders' needs and perspectives.


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Project number n/a
Geographical coverage Morocco, Italy, France, Portugal,
Budget (in €) 0
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Our research project is focused on groundwater and surface water modelling and on integrated management of water resources with methodologies that consider: the effects of landuse change and crops on the parameters of the water budget; saltwater intrusion in surface water bodies and aquifers; change of coastal ecosystems; freshwater availability in the catchments during the year; integrated management with stakeholders involvement and the development of Decision Support Systems (DSS) based on GIS databases and making use of Data mining techniques.

In summary, the methodology proposed for the project is the following:
1. Collect and analysis of data on uses and users of water resources in the basins chosen as test sites.
2. Development of SWOT analysis for the integrated management of water resources in the study area.
3. Development of a GIS database (follow ing the INSPIRE guidelines) at the scale of the case study catchment basin. The GIS will be set up in order to link to a DSS system (based on the DPSIR framework) for water resources management in the tourism industry and in agriculture.
4. Development of spatial interaction models with land use and coastal use suitable to represent the relations between the economy, the technology, the environment and the law/regulations.
5. Development of models for freshwater budget within the catchment based on the following factors:
a) Choice of crops that most efficiently adapt to the yearly distr ibution of water available for agriculture within the catchment today and in a scenario of climate change.
b) Choice of crops that take the best advantage of soil characteristics and water scarcity constraints in the catchment.
c) Management of water discharge in the basins during the year in a way to maximize aquifers recharge and control saltwater intrusion.
 6. Development of numerical models for saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers within a scenario of sea level rise, progressive desertification, and climate change (w ithin the same case study).
7. Development of integrated models for water management to be included within the decision support system (DSS) taking into account the stakeholders point of view. 

The results of this project can be applied by local administrator in Mediterranean countries to adapt water management strategies in coastal zones to increasing drought and desertification climate conditions.

The project will use three test sites to develop a decision support systems (DSS) for the integrated management of coastal areas. 
The following elements will be included:

  • Groundwater and surface water modeling
  • Integrated management of water resources with methodologies that consider the effects of land use change and crops on the parameters of the water budget
  • Salt water intrusion in surface water bodies and aquifers
  • Change of coastal ecosystems
  • Variability of freshwater availability in the catchments during the year
  • Integrated management with stakeholders
  • GIS and datamining techniques

See also the Waterknow pages on the CIRCLE website .


IGRG, University of Bologna (Marco Antonellini)

Université des sciences et Tecnologies de Lille - Prof. Eric Masson

Universidade dos Açores - Prof. Tomaz Dentinho

Ecole Nationale Forestières d'Ingenieures, Morocco -Prof. Abdellatif Khattabi 

See also:


The Moroccan study site is the watershed of the Tahadart river characterised by a basin with a dam and pasture land.

More pictures of the Tahadart basin.



The Italian study site is a small agricultural basin along the Adriatic coast enclosed between the river 'Fiumi uniti' in the north and the Bevano River in the south.

Fields in the Quinto Bacino.

More pictures of the Quinto Bacino


Terceira, one of the islands in the Azores is literally the 'Third' study area (Terceira means third in portugese). It is a very dynamic island with active vulcanous and faults and interesting hydrogeology that includes up to 4000 mm of rain per year,  springs, hanging aquifers and lots of fractures.  Pictures will follow soon.


More pictures of Terceira.


Photographs of the fieldtrip made during the workshop September 2009.




Antonellini M and Mollema P. N. (2010). Impact of groundwater salinity on vegetation species richness in the coastal pine forests and wetlands of Ravenna, Italy. Ecological Engineering DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2009.12.007 Feb. 2010. Waterknow: Monitoring the change of hydrology. International Innovation 

Articles in review

Marconi V and others: Hydrogeochemical Characterization of Small Coastal Wetlands and
Forests in the Southern Po Plain (Northern Italy). 

Mollema P and others: Climate and water budget change of a Mediterranean coastal watershed,
Ravenna , Italy.

Extended Abstracts

Marconi V, Antonellini M and Balugani E. 2010. The influence of surface waters (ponds and drainage ditches) on the salinization of a coastal aquifer in the south-eastern Po-plain (Italy).  To be presented at the conference of the International Association of Hydrologists conference in Krakovia September 2010.

Mollema PN, Marco Antonellini, Giovanni Gabbianelli and Mario Laghi, 2010 The Influence of Surface Water Evaporation on Salt Water Intrusion in Ravenna, Italy. Implications for Climate Change. In: Proceedings of the Salt Water Intrusion Meeting June 21-25 Sao Miguel Azores, Portugal.

Mollema PN, Marco Antonellini, Tomaz Dentinho  and Vasco R. M. Silva. 2010. The Effects of Climate Change on the Hydrology and Groundwater of Terceira Island (Azores). In: Proceedings of the Salt Water Intrusion Meeting June 21-25 Sao Miguel Azores, Portugal.

Antonellini M and Mollema P. 2009. Relationship between groundwater salinity and biodiversity in the coastal Pine forests of Ravenna, Italy.  In proceedings of Hydro-eco 2009, Vienna Austria, 2nd International Conference on Hydrology and Ecology: Ecosystems interacting with groundwater and surface water.

Silveira Paolo, Vasco Silva, Tomaz Ponce Dentinho, Spatial interaction model with land and water
use: An application to Terceira Island, 45th ISOCARP Congress 2009.


Antonellini M.; Balugani E.; Capo D., Dinelli E.; Gabbianelli G.; Laghi M.; Marconi V.; Minchio A. and Mollema P. 2009 -  Salt-water Invasion in a Polder Basin of the Ravenna Coast (Italy): Actual State and Prognosis in View of Climate Change. Settimo Forum Italiano Scienze della Terra, Epitome A1 – 10 Poster, pag 35

Dentinho, T.  P. Silveira, E. Masson, A. Khattabi, M. Antonnelli and V. Silva. 2009.
Spatial Interaction Model with Land and Water: An Application to Coastal Regions of Morocco, Portugal and Italy. In Proceedings PRSCO 2009 - 21st Conference of the Pacific Regional Science Conference Organisation 19 – 22 July, 2009, Conrad Jupiters, Gold Coast, Queensland

Khattabi, A. Towards an integrated water management model in the context of climate change at the river basin scale – Case study from Morocco, In proceedings of GEWEX - Sixth International Scientific Conference on the Global Energy and Water Cycle Melbourne, Australia - 24/28 August 2009

Mharzi Alaoui,H., A. Khattabi, M. Ezzahiri, M. Antonellini, M. Laghi, E. Masson 2009. Design and development of a decision support system for integrated management of water resourses in the cachment area of Tahaddart - North of Marocco In proceedings of GEWEX - Sixth International Scientific Conference on the Global Energy and Water Cycle Melbourne, Australia - 24/28 August 2009

Masson, E and M. Antonellini, T. Dentinho, and A. Khattabi.
Coastal freshwater resources management in the frame of climate change:
application to three basins (Italy, Morocco, Portugal)
Geophysical Research Abstracts,Vol. 11, EGU2009-12391, 2009

Gouineau C. 2009. Gestion de Données Dans le Cadre du Project de Recherche WaterKnow
Licence Professionelle Institut Universitarie de Technologic - Caracassonne.



Period 01/01/2009