Pervasive salinity in soil and water is affecting agricultural yield and the health of millions of delta dwellers in Asia. This is also being exacerbated by climate change through increases in sea level and tropical storm surges. One consequence of this has been a widespread introduction of salt water shrimp farming. Here, we show, using field data and modeling, how changes in climate and land use are likely to result in increased salinization of shallow groundwater in SE Asian mega-deltas. We also explore possible adaptation options. We find that possible future increase of episodic inundation events, combined with salt water shrimp farming, will cause rapid salinization of groundwater in the region making it less suitable for drinking water and irrigation. However, modified land use and water management practices can mitigate the impacts on groundwater, as well as the overlying soil, from future salinization. The study therefore provides guidance for adaptation planning to reduce future salinization in Asian deltas.
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The authors thank Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) project team at the University of Dhaka for sharing the lithological data, and Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) for providing the water level and salinity data, and Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) for rainfall data. This work was funded by The Leverhulme Trust (grant no. RPG-314) and The Wellcome Trust (Institutional Strategic Support Fund: Networks of Excellence Scheme 2014), whose support is gratefully acknowledged.
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Islam, M.A., Hoque, M.A., Ahmed, K.M. et al. Impact of Climate Change and Land Use on Groundwater Salinization in Southern Bangladesh—Implications for Other Asian Deltas. Environmental Management 64, 640–649 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-019-01220-4
- Land use
- Climate change
- Shrimp farm