Delta Life 11

DELTARES IN BRIEF COASTAR GOES CHILE COASTAR, an intervention in which the subsurface is used for the large- scale storage and supply of fresh water, has been introduced in Chile. COASTAR stands for COastal Aquifer STorage And Recovery. COASTAR in Chile will be a tailor-made, robust underground water storage facility that aims to bridge the gap between water supplies and water demand in time and space. Various regions in the South American country are classified as 'dry'. In order to meet growing demand for fresh water for agriculture, industry and cities, Chile is pumping up too much groundwater in a range of locations. It is also exploiting surface water resources such as rivers and lakes. In time, this will lead to the depletion of stocks and possibly salinisation. BACTERIA CLEAN UP SPILLED FUEL The term 'organic pollution' sounds natural but it usually means hazardous substances like benzene and pyrene. If they are released into the environment, it's best to clean them up as naturally as possible. Which is why Deltares and Wageningen University decided to investigate how substances from fuel, such as petrol, can be broken down by bacteria. The study showed, among other things, that bacteria can be taught in a laboratory to become really greedy. This approach is now being tested on real contaminated soil outside the laboratory. (See doctorate research by Marcella van der Waals - page 29) SEA GRASS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST EROSION Seaweed is so good at preventing erosion on tropical beaches that it can make regular, expensive beach nourish ment operations unnecessary. That is the conclusion of biologists and engineers from the Netherlands and Mexico in the scientific journal Bio­ Science . The research focuses mainly on the Caribbean, where beach tourism is the main source of income. Thanks to a sharp increase in building on the coast, which disrupts the natural flow of water and sand, many beaches in this region have already disappeared into the sea. The erosion is intensifying because of more extreme weather and rising sea levels. However, the study showed that healthy seaweed, parti- cularly in combination with specific algae that produce lime sand, forms a natural coastal defence that creates and retains its own 'sand'. Scientists from the Netherlands (NIOZ, Utrecht University, Radboud University Nijmegen, Delft University of Technology and Deltares), Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and St. Eustatius (CNSI) conducted the study. PHOTO: NIOZ, REBECCA JAMES Olive orchard in Chile