Testing innovative methods for securing the groundwater along the coasts

In Danish municipalities such as Guldborgsund, new technologies for the prevention of seawater entering the groundwater is being tested. The Danish Board of Technology Foundation, DBT, was in charge of designing and facilitating the process of involving the municipality, local stakeholders and experts in the process. 

Initiator: EU – SUBSOL (Subsurface Water Solutions)
Period: 2015-2017

 

Context
EU’s research funds program Horizon 2020 has donated money for extending and testing innovative technologies for climate adaption, including how to avoid salt water penetration into the groundwater at different coastlines in Europe and the rest of the world. These technologies were created by the innovation company KWR, with the Dutch water companies as its stakeholders.

In Denmark, the coastline of Marielyst on the island Falster in the municipality Guldborgsund was selected as a test site for this technology. Here, the salt water from the Baltic Sea presents a challenge to the water resources. At Marielyst, as well as in many other coastal areas in Denmark, a large part of the fresh water resources is in close proximity to the ocean. When the groundwater resource is pushed to its limits by our increased use of water, the danger of pollution by salt water penetration is increased. Because of climate changes and the increasing pressure from the ocean, these challenges are likely to intensify in the future.

 

Method
The Danish Board of Technology Foundation designed a process of inclusion to shed light on the local challenges and assess the possibilities of the technology in the local areas; this process was based on analysis, interviews with local stakeholders and in close cooperation with the municipality and the local company  responsible for water supply.

The main purpose was to ascertain local knowledge and user-preferences which, along with an analysis of formal legal requirements in this field, are to insure that any future implementation is conducted with local accept and support.

During the closing of this project, the Danish Board of Technology Foundation conducted workshops where the relevant participants discussed the current and future challenges of salt water penetration into the groundwater. The participants were to list and prioritize demands and wishes for a technical solution which is to meet with local needs, including the wishes of the private industry, local citizens, plot owners and finally considerations of nature and environment. On the basis of this, the abilities of the new technologies to meet with local demands and needs were assessed.

The Danish Board of Technology Foundation also supervised the other EU-partners in the project on methods for engaging stakeholders in their local test-projects.

The Danish Board of Technology Foundation’s methods and professional knowledge on climate adjustment can be used by other municipalities, who wish to assess new technology in a manner which will meet with wide acceptance and which take into consideration the preferences and knowledge of all stakeholders.

 

The role of Danish Board of Technology Foundation
The Danish Board of Technology Foundation was responsible for the Danish project and facilitated the inclusion process locally in Marielyst and the following workshops. DBT wrote a guide for inclusive innovation processes to be used by other near-coast municipalities. The Danish Board of Technology applied both our thorough experience with designing involvement processes and our professional knowledge of both technology and climate.
Results
The municipality of Guldborgsund were given concrete guidance on the implementation of new technology in order to avoid salt water to penetrate the groundwater.

EU got new and innovative solutions for securing groundwater in near-coastal areas in Europe and elsewhere tested and widely distributed.