Research Project:
Preliminary study on impact of land reclamation on regional groundwater regime
Investigator: J J Jiao

Founding source: CRCG
Time Period: Nov. 2000-Oct. 2002

Abstract of the proposal

Land reclamation has played a significant role in the urban development process in coastal areas in many parts of the world, including China, Britain, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and the United States. Among them, Hong Kong may have the longest history of land reclamation. Over 10% of Hong Kong developed land area has been reclaimed from the sea and the Government is still planing several major reclamation projects. While reclamation provides valuable land, it also creates various engineering, environmental and ecological problems in coastal areas.

The direct impact of land reclamation on coastal engineering, environment and marine ecology is well recognized and widely studied. However, it has not been recognized yet that reclamation may change the regional groundwater regime, including groundwater level, interface between seawater and fresh groundwater, and submarine groundwater discharge to the coast. This will in turn cause engineering and environmental problems by modifying the infiltration capacity, flooding pattern, stability of slopes and foundations, and submarine groundwater discharge to the coast. For example, the rise of water level due to reclamation will lead to reduction of bearing capacity of foundations and the stability of slopes. An aquifer behaves like an underground reservoir and can only receive a certain amount of rainfall. If the water level is high, infiltration capacity may be significantly decreased and more rainwater may therefore runoff directly. This will increase the chance of flooding during rainfall periods. Furthermore, submarine groundwater input to the sea is dependent of groundwater level and a change of the groundwater regime will modify the coastal marine and ecological environment.

This project will represent the first attempt in the world to address the impact of reclamation on groundwater regimes. Both hypothetical and field case studies will be conducted to study how reclamation influences the groundwater regimes. The findings and experience from this study may be instructional for the policy makers to choose the reclamation scale and fill materials so that the disturbance to groundwater regimes and the consequent damage to the environment are as small as possible. This research will provide methodology to predict and evaluate the change of the groundwater system and its environmental impact in response to large-scale reclamation projects such as the one for the Disney park in Penny's Bay, Hong Kong.

Related Publications:

Jiao, J. J, 2000, Preliminary conceptual study on impact of land reclamation on groundwater flow and contaminant migration in Penny's Bay, Hong Kong Geologist . [Full paper]

Jiao, J. J, S. Nandy, and H. Li, 2001, Analytical studies on the impact of reclamation on groundwater flow, Ground Water, 39(6), p912-920.

Jiao, J. J, 2000, Modification of regional groundwater regimes by land reclamation, Hong Kong Geologist, Vol 6, p29-36.[Full paper]








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