Implementing strategic development goals in Coastal Aquifer Management (go-CAM)


Siel und Schöpfwerk Dangast
Grundwassermessstelle mit Datenlogger
Durchflussgefäß bei Probenahme

(1) sewer and pumping station Dangast; (2) groundwater monitoring station with data logger; (3) flow-through vessel at sampling

Motivation: Coastal regions present special challenges when it comes to the sustainable use of water resources. These include climate change, changing sea levels, salinization risk, high discharge of nutrients from agriculture, low-lying ground and - not least - high population density and high water demand in industry. Overusing water resources inevitably leads to conflicts over its use. Therefore, comprehensive and sustainable governance of water supplies (taking into consideration changing quantity and quality) is crucial. Here, it is important to consider all substantial influencing factors, so that the whole system will be reproduced. With the help of a multicriteria decision analysis, go-CAM will establish regional courses of action that will then be transferred into practice using the CAM dialogue platform. Other challenges include preparing the model results for practical use, and achieving acceptance among the user groups. For the latter issue, accompanying workshops with the various user groups will increase acceptance for the methods and results. The expectable key messages concerning the security of supply in the coastal zone conduce to derivate adaption strategies.

Objective: The research association go-CAM has the following objectives:

  • The development, implementation and application of multicriteria governance optimisation for sustainable water use in various coastal regions around the world.
  • By linking modern methods that support decision-making and action with findings from hydrosystem modelling, the project will produce an integrated, transferable coastal zone management system. This planning tool will be part of an online dialogue platform called Coastal Aquifer Management (CAM).
  • Increase the acceptance for the methods and results due to accompanying workshops with the various user groups regarding the underlying models and structures of water management. A PhD programme with the project's international partners should guarantee that the model can continue to be applied even after go-CAM has finished.



Schematic overview of the project: The modelling of the prospective water balance and quality of surface and groundwater base on the software package PANTA RHEI and d³f++. It is driven by climate model data as boundary conditions. The projected water demand in respective coastal regions will be developed under participatory process. Possible forms of the different scenarios (supply and demand) will be compared and evaluated with selected indicators. The derivation of regional courses of action takes place with a multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA), which allows the development of sustainable governance strategies in coastal zones (CAM - Coastal Aquifer Management).


  • Development, calibration and application of hydrological, hydrogeological and geological models in coastal areas. Climate and socio-economic scenario based on estimations of actual water supply and demand and the corresponding trend are analysed, while taking account of various impacts and usage claims. The model examinations provide covered statements about the area of influence of the changing climate and demographic boundary conditions.
  • Establish regional courses of action using multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA). The MCDA enables the development and governance of sustainable adaption strategies in coastal zones (CAM - Coastal Aquifer Management) and an implementation in a user-friendly software package. The necessary understanding of processes in coast hydrology is provided by hydrosystem models.
  • Transfer the CAM dialogue platform from northern Germany (where it will be developed) and the underlying methods to international partner regions (coastal sections in Brazil, Turkey and South Africa) with participation of associated project partners at a local, regional and national level (regional groundwater availability studies). This third point shall lead to competence development in regional fresh water management, obtained through expert discussions and workshops. Important input is expected from the associated specialists of the World Bank (designated GW-MATE-Pres., LAC Water Resources Practice Manager, Global WPD).


The coordination of the project as a whole and therefore the responsibility for networking, success monitoring and exploitation of the project results as well as the adequate communication of the research idea is entrusted to the department HYWAG.

In the first sub-project, eco-hydrological models will be set up by HYWAG with its specially developed software PANTA RHEI. These models take into account the complex structure of the drainage systems within the coastal catchment areas as well as the climatic conditions and the nutrient inputs. The target values are the water balances of the areas and the spatially distributed groundwater recharge as an input variable for the groundwater models and the quantification of nutrient loads.

The eco-hydrological models can be used for the performance of calculations with climate model data (Euro-Cordex). As an objective, as robust signals as possible for the prospective water balance shall be deduced.

HYWAG will actively support the cross-sectoral issue "Human Capacity Buiding" which will be carried out in workshops and exchange programmes of PhD-students of the international target regions (Brazil, Turkey and South Africa). The support will be provided through organisation and teaching units.

The development of the multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) will be realised by HYWAG and will be based on all results. The MCDA can be viewed as the centre of the Coastal Aquifer Management (CAM). Together with indicators, regional courses of action shall be established.

Funding: The project is funded financially by the BMBF within the collaborative project GROW and in the period from 2017-06-01 to 2020-05-31.

Project partners:



Technische Universität Braunschweig, Leichtweiß-Institut für Wasserbau (LWI), Abteilung für Hydrologie Wasserwirtschaft und Gewässerschutz (HYWAG)

project coordination

eco-hydrological modelling

evaluation of climate scenarios

development of multicriteria decision analysis

groundwater monitoring

human capacity development

Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit gGmbH (Köln), Fachbereich Endlagersicherheitsforschung (Braunschweig)

groundwater transport modelling

human capacity development

Oldenburgisch-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband

participation process

groundwater modelling

geological structure modelling

preparation of water management data

human capacity development

Leibniz-Institut für Angewandte Geophysik

geophysical data collection (NMR)

preparation of geophysical data (NMR+HEM)

human capacity development

Niedersächsischer Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten- und Naturschutz, Betriebsstelle Aurich

preparation of water management data

human capacity development

INSIGHT Geologische Softwaresysteme GmbH

geological structure modelling

human capacity development

GISCON Geoinformatik GmbH

software development Coastal Aquifer Management (CAM)

human capacity development

In addition, universities and water supplier from Germany and the international project regions Brazil, Turkey and South Africa are actively involved as associated project partners.

Links / Press

Contact Prof. Dr.rer.nat. H. M. Schöniger