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The hydrogeology of the military inundation at the 1914-1918 Yser front (Belgium)
Vandenbohede, A. (2016). The hydrogeology of the military inundation at the 1914-1918 Yser front (Belgium). Hydrogeol. J. 24(2): 521-534.
In: Hydrogeology Journal. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 1431-2174; e-ISSN 1435-0157, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Coastal aquifers; Groundwater/surface-water relations; Great War;Belgium; History of hydrogeology

Auteur  Top 
  • Vandenbohede, A., meer

    Protection against flooding by the sea, drainage of rainwater and integrated management of groundwater and surface-water resources are key issues in low-lying coastal areas. However, under exceptional circumstances, knowledge to keep coastal areas dry and habitable can be used otherwise. Inundation for military purposes is such an example. The hydrogeology of the inundation at the Yser River, Belgium, during the Great War is studied. The inundation started in October 1914 to stop the German advance and lasted until 1918. A water balance and groundwater model are combined to derive the water balance before and during the inundation and to study the impact on the groundwater system. It is concluded that a number of hydrogeological factors contributed to the effectiveness of the inundation. Most importantly, the low-permeability subsoil facilitated loss of inundation water mainly by evaporation. Further, the normal water management strategy of the area (aimed at evacuating excess water towards the sea) was reversed to keep water between the opposing armies. However, the duration of the inundation meant a reorganization of the drainage of areas not inundated; truly an exercise in integrated water management.

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