Salinity spatial patterns in Mediterranean coastal areas: The legacy of historical water infrastructures - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Science of the Total Environment Year : 2023

Salinity spatial patterns in Mediterranean coastal areas: The legacy of historical water infrastructures

Abstract

Mediterranean coastal areas have been occupied and developed intensively for a long time facing issues related to agricultural production, urbanization, tourism, preservation of natural resources often linked to salinity. This article explores the relationship between historical land planning and water management, and current soil and water salinity to gain insights into future projections. Soil samples (1185) were collected in a coastal plain of 114 km2 in the south of France and saturated paste extract Electrical Conductivity (ECsp) was deduced from 1:5 dilution. Soil salinity exhibits a wide range of variation (from 0.54 to 113.1 mS cm-1) and spatial patterns. ECsp is significantly different among soil types, higher at depth than at the surface and influenced by the distance to ancient water infrastructures (Pettitt test). Surface water and shallow groundwater samples were collected for trace element concentrations and Oxygen (18O/16O) isotope ratio measurements. The geochemical signatures indicate a mixture between surface freshwater and seawater, reveal the presence of over-salted seawater and a stratification of salinity from the surface to the depth. Results suggest that groundwater is the source of soil salinity, and illustrate the long-term impact of old water infrastructures. Less saline soils are found near the freshwater supply channel (constructed from 15th to 18th), while more saline soils are located near drainage channels. The presence of over-salted water reflects temporal evolution of the plain over the last few centuries (initially under seawater, gradually filled in, presence of ponds and salt works that have now disappeared). The current soil salinity patches continue to be a visible reminder of this evolution. The trend towards desalinization of the plain over the last few centuries has been made possible by massive freshwater inflows, which are now under threat due to the general decrease of water resources availability.
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Dates and versions

hal-04296161 , version 1 (20-11-2023)

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Laurène Marien, Armand Crabit, Benoît Dewandel, Bernard Ladouche, Perrine Fleury, et al.. Salinity spatial patterns in Mediterranean coastal areas: The legacy of historical water infrastructures. Science of the Total Environment, 2023, 899, pp.165730. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.165730⟩. ⟨hal-04296161⟩
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