Evaluating locations for subsurface dams : Case study on Storsudret, Gotland

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik; KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: Due to precipitation poor winters and springs and over-exploitation of groundwater reserves during the summer months as a consequence of tourism, the island of Gotland has experienced fresh water shortages during recent years which has led to harsh restrictions in the use of municipal water. In order to find a solution to the islands fresh water problems, the region of Gotland and the Swedish Environmental Institute (IVL) have initiated a project in which the southernmost part of Gotland, Storsudret, will be used as a test site for new methods of sustainable freshwater storage and extraction methods. A, for Sweden, new method currently being investigated is the use of subsurface dams in order to increase the storage capacity of soil groundwater, thus increasing the possible extractions. Methods for finding suitable sites for subsurface dams has been investigated by Imran Jamali, 2016, and Ludvig Almqvist, 2017. There is however a need in further investigating and developing methods for subsurface dam location. This master thesis has focused on performing on-site data collection and on the use of groundwater flow model to evaluate the possibility of placing a subsurface dam on Storsudret, as steps in a method to localize areas suitable for subsurface dams. On site data was collected through resistivity measurements and water level measurements. This was used as input data for the flow model, MIKE SHE, together with more general GIS-data available. Flow modelling was performed during the period 2015-2018, which included the initially dry years of 2015-16 and the summer of 2017, and the more precipitation rich second half of 2017 and spring of 2018. Subsurface dams were modelled to investigate the results on the surroundings. The result did not show any obvious locations for the placement of a subsurface dam within the modelled area. The site considered to be most suitable for dam placement was modelled but showed only a rather small additional stored volume. However, the model result indicated that large possibilities for freshwater extraction already could be present in an existing geological formation in the area, even without the presence of a subsurface dam. As a tool for finding the specific location of groundwater dams, it was concluded that MIKE SHE gives a good overview over the general hydrogeological features and flow paths. Thus, it is a valuable tool when it comes to finding interesting sites for further investigations. However, due to problems in obtaining detailed enough input data, the model is considered to be less suitable for finding specific locations for dam placement when investigating a larger domain.

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