Hydrological research in humid tropics is particularly challenging because of highly variable hydrological conditions and high socio-economic stresses caused by rapid population increase, as is the case of Nicaragua. The objective of this research is to understand the surface and subsurface runoff generation processes in a poorly gauged coastal catchment in Nicaragua under variable humid tropical conditions. Specifically, it focuses on identifying geomorphological and hydro-climatic controls on catchment response at different spatio-temporal scales and studies the link between hydrological processes and ecosystem conditions (i.e. mangrove forest). Catchment topography, geology and land use control surface and subsurface runoff generation. Spatio-temporal variability of precipitation affects availability of water resources, determines sources of surface runoff generation and induces changes in groundwater–surface interactions. Sustainable water resources management must prevent drastic alterations in catchment structural characteristics defined by forested areas and tidal sand ridges. Catchment response to hydro-climatic and geomorphologic controls supports the mangrove ecosystem freshwater needs. The outcome of this work is a contribution to the hydrological knowledge of poorly gauged catchment in humid tropics. It also provides scientific hydrological insights to support water resources management on the South Pacific coast of Nicaragua.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Integrating geophysical, tracer and hydrochemical data to conceptualize groundwater flow
Chapter 3 Hydrological and geomorphological controls on the water balance components of a mangrove forest during the dry season
Chapter 4 Characterizing the climatic water balance dynamics and different runoff components in a poorly gauged tropical forested catchment
Chapter 5 Lessons learned from catchment scale tracer tests experiments during rainfall-runoff events in a tropical environment using natural DNA from total bacteria and qPCR
Chapter 6 Investigation of seasonal river–aquifer interactions in a tropical coastal area controlled by tidal sand ridges
Chapter 7 Conclusions and recommendations for future research
IHE Delft PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At IHE Delft, PhD researchers from around the world participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries dealing with topics related to water and the environment.
PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.
IHE Delft PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world.