COASTAR goes Chile

Published: 19 December 2018

Certain regions in Chile are characterized 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 salinization of the water. Also in Chile.

By awarding of a Partners for Water project, the consortium Arcadis, KWR and Deltares are working on introducing of the COASTAR concept developed in the Netherlands for Chile. 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 Alfuentes, Region de Comquimbo and the University of La Serena.

COASTAR is the acronym of COastal Aquifer STorage And Recovery. The tailor made COASTAR system in Chile is a robust underground water storage and aims to bridge the gap between water supply and water demand in time and space. The COASTAR knowledge is combined with the water distribution tool for this region of the University of La Serena. The International Water Ambition (IWA), a mutual effort by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs and Infrastructure and Water Management, states that COASTAR is one of the IWA showcases. “With the IWA test labs IWA Nederland would like to present itself globally as the innovation center for water”, according to Marie-Josée Jenniskens (program leader IWA on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands

‘One of the sources is the melt water from the mountains, which is normally discharged via the rivers into the sea. With COASTAR this water is captured and stored in the subsurface in a valley near the coast. During this project, we will investigate how we can optimize this mechanism, ‘explains 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. In addition to combining surface – and groundwater systems, other water sources can also add water to the water chain. For example, the cleaned water from the urban wastewater treatment plants. The latter is not part of the current project, but can be added at a later stage. With the help of this COASTAR system we are working on water availability for now and the generation to come in Chile. The project therefore adds to the SDG 6 clean water and sanitation to a large extent.’

The project will start in April 2019 and during 2020 will be implemented in the field.