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Interrelation between Coastal Processes Surface Water and Groundwater at the Outer Coastal Region of the Rio de la Plata Estuary, Argentina

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The outer coastal region of the Rio de la Plata estuary, Argentina, presents two adjacent, yet different environments: the Samborombon Bay wetland and a dune barrier system on the eastern sandy coastline of the Province of Buenos Aires. These environments have their own characteristics as regards the interrelation between coastal processes, surface water and groundwater. Though in a different degree, both environments have undergone salt water encroachment of the phreatic aquifer, coastal erosion and relative sea level rise processes due to natural and anthropic factors. Coastal areas have been exposed to a variety of hazards, such as salinization, severe storm surges, high frequency and degree of flooding and littoral erosion processes. Human activities, such as beach sand mining, dune fixation and destruction, construction of coastal structures and exploitation of aquifers without an adequate knowledge of the hydrology setting and a rational management program, have worsen these natural hazards. Uncontrolled anthropic action has induced environmental damage to the overall coastal dune barrier system and plains. The Samborombon Bay wetland and the beach dune system environments play an important role with respect to the social and economic development based on agriculture, cattle-raising, fishing and tourism. Results of investigations on saltwater contamination, sea level rise, storm surges, erosion processes and morphological changes recently performed in these two coastal environments are presented here. Future possible scenarios are briefly considered within the context of climate change. Potentially methods for measuring groundwater flux in the sandy environment are discussed as regards their applicability to the study area.

Palabras clave
coastal region
dune barrier system

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