Articles | Volume 17, issue 5
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1851–1869, 2013
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1851–1869, 2013

Research article 15 May 2013

Research article | 15 May 2013

Thermal management of an unconsolidated shallow urban groundwater body

J. Epting1, F. Händel2,3, and P. Huggenberger1 J. Epting et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences, Applied and Environmental Geology, University of Basel, Bernoullistr. 32, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
  • 2Department Monitoring and Exploration Technologies, UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Institute for Groundwater Management, Technische Universität Dresden, Bergstr. 66, 01069 Dresden, Germany

Abstract. This study presents the development of tools for the sustainable thermal management of a shallow unconsolidated urban groundwater body in the city of Basel (Switzerland). The concept of the investigations is based on (1) a characterization of the present thermal state of the urban groundwater body, and (2) the evaluation of potential mitigation measures for the future thermal management of specific regions within the groundwater body.

The investigations focus on thermal processes down-gradient of thermal groundwater use, effects of heated buildings in the subsurface as well as the thermal influence of river–groundwater interaction. Investigation methods include (1) short- and long-term data analysis, (2) high-resolution multilevel groundwater temperature monitoring, as well as (3) 3-D numerical groundwater flow and heat transport modeling and scenario development. The combination of these methods allows for the quantifying of the thermal influences on the investigated urban groundwater body, including the influences of thermal groundwater use and heated subsurface constructions. Subsequently, first implications for management strategies are discussed, including minimizing further groundwater temperature increase, targeting "potential natural" groundwater temperatures for specific aquifer regions and exploiting the thermal potential.