Computer models to help inform Pearl Delta planning

Today the NOC announced its involvement in a new, internationally collaborative project that will inform planning for the Pearl River Delta in China by combining measurements of salt in estuarine waters with computer modelling.

Currently high levels of salt in the Pearl River Delta are stopping desalination plants from working well enough to meet demands for clean freshwater in this region, which is the world’s largest urban area.

Computer models will provide projections of salt levels under a range of human and environmental scenarios. These will include sea-level rise, rain and river-flow, as well as changes relating to coastal defences, dredging, dams and land reclamation. The project team will also test sustained, cost-effective salinity measurements in the Mersey estuary as a prototype for how to measure long-term changes in salt contained in estuarine waters.

Dr Laurent Amoudry from the NOC, who is leading the numerical modelling element of the project, said “in terms of estuary management and planning, the approach taken by the Mersey is leading the world. This is a really exciting opportunity to use some of the lessons learnt from the Mersey, alongside the NOC’s world leading numerical modelling capability to help solve social and economic problems around the world.”

This project is a collaboration between the NOC, the Delft University of Technology, and Sun Yat-sen University. It is co-funded by EPSRC through the Newton Fund in the UK, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, NSFC.