Six delta research projects awarded seed money

As part of the seed money call 2020, the Water, Climate and Future Deltas hub of Pathways to Sustainability has awarded seed money grants to six teams of researchers. The selected research teams work at the Faculties of Geosciences, Sciences and Law, Economics and Governance at Utrecht University and act in strong collaboration with external partners. Via the seed money call scheme, the hub aims to encourage research work that tackles innovative and emerging research subjects on delta development and foster interdisciplinary research activities among researchers from various disciplines and engagement with external stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally.

The projects relate closely to the research lines of the hub on developing scenarios for external conditions for delta pathways, understanding natural and social drivers, controls and feedback processes and their impacts on delta system functioning, and exploring sustainable delta pathways.

The selected projects are featured below.

Feasible delta sediment management from an interdisciplinary perspective

This project will assess the various sedimentation enhancing strategies proposed and implemented in different deltas worldwide, and identify key challenges and opportunities for these strategies under future scenarios.

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From the high mountains to the deltas

Using a combined climate-glacier-hydrology model, this research project aims to quantify how hydrological processes and water use between the glaciers and the delta may affect the amount and timing of glacier runoff that eventually drains into the ocean.

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Constructing a global hydrogeological database and a model builder framework for coastal salinity and subsidence modelling

The researchers will develop an open source hydrogeological database and model builder framework that could be used as a basis for groundwater modelling and water management. The database and framework are expected to provide a tool for academia, government authorities and the private sector - especially in developing countries that are facing the challenge of lack of data - to develop sustainable water management strategies. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with Deltares.

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Human costs of shrinking deltas: Adaptation pathways of vulnerable groups to sea-level rise in three Asian deltas

This project studies which adaptation pathways to sea-level rise vulnerable residents create or are part of in deltas. Based on cases in Vietnam, India and Thailand, the research team seeks to understand the different routes for adaptation that various groups have been taking and the drivers and constraints that define their choices of adaptation. By comparative analysis of the three deltas, this research aims to shed light on the similarities and differences in the adaptation pathways adopted by vulnerable communities observed in the three areas. The results will help build up knowledge on the impacts of sea-level rise on vulnerable groups and how to develop resilient pathways to help these groups.

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Monitoring dynamic mangrove systems in Suriname and Indonesia using planet lab satellite images and the historic satellite data archive (Google Earth engine)

Based on two study sites in Suriname and Indonesia and using satellite images and historic maps, the project aims to develop knowledge on the conditions in which mangroves flourish and settle and where mangroves are eroded and the impacts of human disturbance and natural conditions in sustainable development of mangrove forests.

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Revising the Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise at the Ganges, Mekong, and Rhine-Meuse deltas

This projects aims to improve the understanding of ocean-driven mass loss from the Antarctic ice sheet and its impact on sea-level rise at three specific deltas: the Ganges, Mekong and Rhine-Meuse, and to assess the most important processes that need to be resolved to reduce the uncertainties in the projections of sea level rise in these three deltas.

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