Water and soil salinisation in the Mediterranean coastal zone: status, evolution and indicators - Application to the low plains of the Aude river - Laurène Marien

The Mediterranean coastal zones are the focus of many territorial challenges relating to water and soil resources, agricultural production, remarkable natural areas, urban development and tourism. The preservation and development of these areas requires a balance between spaces and resources requirements and availability for different uses. This balance must be achieved under conditions of climate and land use change.

salin eau sol© Photos: Salinization states of water and soil in the low plains of the Aude river (F. Colin, 2019)

 

 

The study of waters and soils salinization in the coastal areas is particularly revealing of these general balances. Indeed, the current state of salinization results from natural processes (intrusion of marine water, presence of brackish groundwater, capillary rise, infiltration, percolation, leaching) and anthropogenic control actions (submersion, drainage). The historical challenge for many coastal areas was to establish water, soil and ecosystem management methods capable of maintaining the expected uses. Crisis situations induced by salinization (vegetation mortality, increased salinity of water bodies) are often indicative of imbalances caused by climate change (reduced rainfall, increased evapotranspiration, rising sea levels) and/or access to water resources (sharing between water withdrawals, access to resources outside the catchment area) and/or spatial patterns (agricultural reparcelling, impermeabilization, construction or removal of structures).

 

Therefore, the challenge is to adapt these territories.  Salinization is considered here as a good prism to study both the changes to which the area is subjected and the adaptations in progress or in the future. This doctoral thesis topic offers two levels of questioning:

  • (1) what is the state of soil and water salinity and how has it changed?
  • (2) how is this phenomenon perceived/perceptible and managed?

This project will be carried out on the site of the low plains of the Aude River, which provides a diversity of processes potentially responsible for the salinisation of soil and water, a high-stakes area and an important link with the various stakeholders in the area with regard to the problem. It will benefit from the financial and partnership support of a study (2019-2021) carried out in collaboration between BRGM, Montpellier SupAgro, Le Grand Narbonne agglomeration and the Regional Natural Park La Narbonnaise.

 

Key words: soil-water-groundwater interactions, viticulture, salt-control practice, crowd sourcing data, biological indicators

 

Additional Info

  • Contact:
    PhD student: Laurène MARIEN
    Postal address: 361 rue J. F. Breton 34090 MONTPELLIER
    E-mail : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • THESIS INFORMATION:
    Doctoral school:  GAIA
    Thesis Director: F. Colin (Institut Agro-Montpellier SupAgro)
    Supervisors: A.Crabit (Institut Agro-Montpellier SupAgro), P. Fleury (BRGM)
    Start date: 01/02/2020
    Defense date: coming soon
  • Team(s) of Joint Research Unit concerned:

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