Groundwater modeling is undergoing a change from traditional stand-alone studies toward being an integrated part of holistic water resources management procedures. This is illustrated by the development in Denmark, where comprehensive national databases for geologic borehole data, groundwater-related geophysical data, geologic models, as well as a national groundwater-surface water model have been established and integrated to support water management. This has enhanced the benefits of using groundwater models. Based on insight gained from this Danish experience, a scientifically realistic scenario for the use of groundwater modeling in 2020 has been developed, in which groundwater models will be a part of sophisticated databases and modeling systems. The databases and numerical models will be seamlessly integrated, and the tasks of monitoring and modeling will be merged. Numerical models for atmospheric, surface water, and groundwater processes will be coupled in one integrated modeling system that can operate at a wide range of spatial scales. Furthermore, the management systems will be constructed with a focus on building credibility of model and data use among all stakeholders and on facilitating a learning process whereby data and models, as well as stakeholders' understanding of the system, are updated to currently available information. The key scientific challenges for achieving this are (1) developing new methodologies for integration of statistical and qualitative uncertainty; (2) mapping geological heterogeneity and developing scaling methodologies; (3) developing coupled model codes; and (4) developing integrated information systems, including quality assurance and uncertainty information that facilitate active stakeholder involvement and learning.
- Programme Area 2: Water Resources