DEMO Site 6: Serchio River well field, Tuscany, Italy

Serchio 1 Serchio 2
 River weir at the end of the S. Alessio well field Main pipeline collecting water coming from the five wells of the S. Alessio well field

Along the Serchio River, Lucca Province in Tuscany, a series of well fields is set for an overall amount of about 1 m3/s pumped groundwater providing drinking water for about 300,000 people of the coastal Tuscany (mainly to the town of Pisa and Livorno). The needed water for pumping is made available by enhancing river bank infiltration into a high yield (10-2 m2/s transmissivity) sand and gravel aquifer by rising the river head. During dry climate extremes (i.e. 2002/2003 or 2011/2012), Serchio River flow may be as low as 3 m3/s. This poses a threat to the river minimum environmental flow (MEF) as the volume abstracted is barely 30% of the river flow (which is already 33% of the adopted MEF). The problem can be limited through aquifer recharge measures. However, unintended/unmanaged aquifer recharge may arise concerns both from the quantitative and the qualitative point of view (potential contamination of river water).

The Serchio well field site currently does not have a monitoring program and can therefore be used to demonstrate the feasibility of aquifer recharge by a technical and economical point of view and the benefits of managing induced river bank filtration versus unmanaged one. Beyond the development of new sensors or monitoring systems, the innovation at the site will consist in merging existing technologies to create a control platform where the operation at the well fields are continuously and automatically monitored and managed. Data will be acquired continuously by means of a set of sensors. Synergies may arise by using sensors developed within the context of the project by other partners. Data will be continuously acquired and the connected modelling tools will consist in spatially distributed and physically based coupled surface water/groundwater flow and solute transport models developed on a GIS platform and along with optimization models whose aim will be: (i) estimating induced infiltration rates, (ii) estimating travel times, (iii) optimize groundwater exploitation in complex well field schemes, (iv) performing forecasting simulations on prevention of pollution events, (v) performing time estimates for remedial actions, and (vi) performing simulations on the effectiveness of remedial actions to be set in place.

A Decision Support System (DSS) combining and integrating measurements results and modelling will be deve­loped and equipped with an alert system to inform water managers about the system performance and reaching limits of infiltration rates against MEF or water quality indices.

All the developed system will be benchmarked against potential market exploitation.





Demonstrating Managed
Aquifer Recharge as a
Solution to Water Scarcity
and Drought

An EU FP7 Project



Coordination & Contact:

Prof. Dr. Christoph Schüth

Darmstadt Technical University
Institute of Applied Geosciences
Schnittspahnstr. 9
64287 Darmstadt



Follow us on TwitterFollow us on FacebookVisit our LinkedIn GroupVisit our Vimeo Channel


EIP Water 


EIP Action Group 128 



EU Flag

The MARSOL project receives funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under grant agreement no 619120.

This project website reflects only the authors' views and the European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.











© 2014-2019 Institute of Applied Geosciences, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany - Imprint - Data Protection