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Coqueiral Project: challenge of water quality in urban environmental issue: Recife aquifers and land use: how to face groundwater salinization and contamination under global environmental change in its societal context

Grant number: 11/50553-0
Support Opportunities:Research Program on Global Climate Change - Thematic Grants
Duration: December 01, 2011 - September 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Geosciences - Geology
Convênio/Acordo: FACEPE - ANR
Principal Investigator:Ricardo César Aoki Hirata
Grantee:Ricardo César Aoki Hirata
Principal researcher abroad: Emmanuelle Petelet-Giraud
Institution abroad: Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), France
Host Institution: Instituto de Geociências (IGC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Pesquisadores principais:
( Últimos )
Edson Cezar Wendland ; Jose Antonio Marengo Orsini
Pesquisadores principais:
( Antigos )
Ricardo César Aoki Hirata


Due to an increasing demographic pressure, the Metropolitan Region of Recife (RMR, the fifth largest metropolitan area in Brazil), went through remarkable water and land use changes over the last decades. These evolutions gave rise to numerous environmental consequences, such as a dramatic decline of the piezometric levels, groundwater salinization and contamination, This degradation of natural resources is linked to the increase of water demand, punctually amplified by drought periods which induced the construction of thousands of private wells, hindering global political solutions. The RMR thus appears as a trypical “hot spot" illustrating the problems of emerging countries such as urbanization, unequal distribution of wealth, limited effects of political decisions, rapid industrial and touristic development. All these factors induce high pressures on water resources both on quantity and quality in the context of global social and environmental changes. Under these conditions, the COQUEIRAL project proposes an interdisciplinary research program aiming to study the human impact on coastal overexploited aquifers. The project is structured in three principal converging axes: (1) the analysis of pressures on the groundwater resources and their societal and structural reasons, (2) the identification of sources and mechanisms of groundwater quality and quantity degradation, focusing on the physical and chemical processes as vectors of the reaction of the system to the external pressures and (3) the assessment of the regional impact of global changes on water resources. COQUEIRAL will the approach the degradation of the groundwater resources by questioning the specific conditions of urbanization and water administration in Recife at multiple levels: the macro-sociological level with the political and institutional stake of water management; the meso-sociological level with the water's collective stakes and their perceptions; and the micro-sociological level, meaning the representations, practices, individual and collective uses of water. Geomorphological-urban maps will complete the knowledge. In parallel to the acquisition of new geological, hydrological and hydrogeological data, COQUEIRAL will elaborate methods to determine the origin and processes of salinization, including a multi-tracer approach, to identify sources and pathways of inorganic contamination and to determine the residence time of water within the aquifer system. Based on the gained knowledge, hydrogeological conceptual and 3D numerical models of the functioning of the aquifer system in its social and environmental contexts will be developed. In the aim to improve existing management tools, COQUEIRAL will propose the outlines for best practices, based on scenarios of groundwater resources evolution resulting from the sociological and climatic scenarios developed in the project. Knowing the outstanding importance of water resources management for the regional development, COQUEIRAL will share the results of this interdisciplinary work with all relevant stakeholders, through a variety of communication networks, including a photographic exhibition. The results obtained in the specific framework of the metropolitan region of Recife are in great part transposable to similar contexts of "hot spots" of human and climatic pressure on water resources in emerging countries. At French level, the project also involves a 5ME (Geo-Hyd) and will serve for future collaborations with regional enterprises at an international scale. The project has applied for labeling by the "pôle de compétitivité" DREAM. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PETELET-GIRAUD, EMMANUELLE; CARY, LISE; CARY, PAUL; BERTRAND, GUILLAUME; GIGLIO-JACQUEMOT, ARMELLE; HIRATA, RICARDO; AQUILINA, LUC; ALVES, LINCOLN MUNIZ; MARTINS, VERIDIANA; MELO, ANA MARIA; et al. Multi-layered water resources, management, and uses under the impacts of global changes in a southern coastal metropolis: When will it be already too late? Crossed analysis in Recife, NE Brazil. Science of The Total Environment, v. 618, p. 645-657, . (11/50553-0)
BERTRAND, GUILLAUME; PETELET-GIRAUD, EMMANUELLE; CARY, LISE; HIRATA, RICARDO; MONTENEGRO, SUZANA; PAIVA, ANDERSON; MAHLKNECHT, JURGEN; COELHO, VICTOR; ALMEIDA, CRISTIANO. Delineating groundwater contamination risks in southern coastal metropoles through implementation of geochemical and socio-environmental data in decision-tree and geographical information system. WATER RESEARCH, v. 209, p. 13-pg., . (11/50553-0)
CARY, LISE; PETELET-GIRAUD, EMMANUELLE; MONTENEGRO, SUZANA; HIRATA, RICARDO; MARTINS, VERIDIANA; AUROUET, AXEL; PAUWELS, HELENE; KLOPPMANN, WOLFRAM; AQUILINA, LUC; COQUEIRAL TEAM; et al. Groundwater salinization in a coastal multilayer aquifer: preliminary results on origins and mechanisms- example of Recife (Brazil). PROCEEDINGS OF THE FOURTEENTH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON WATER-ROCK INTERACTION, WRI 14, v. 7, p. 5-pg., . (11/50553-0)

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