New research topic for a Master’s thesis

The Research Group INOWAS at TUD proposes the following research topic for a Masters’ student:

Analysis of the effects of MAR on the local groundwater system through groundwater flow modelling of the Akrotiri MAR scheme, Cyprus


Enhancing groundwater recharge by storing surplus water in the subsurface in times of high availability followed by recovery in times of high demand represents a low cost technology that increases the resilience of water supply infrastructures to extreme hydro-climatic events. The technique known as managed aquifer recharge (MAR) represents a viable adaptation solution for sustainable water resources management while it reduces the impact of water scarcity by increasing seasonal water availability.

Akrotiri, Cyprus (foto: Catalin Stefan)

Problem statement

Cyprus suffers from several decades of severe drought and an increasing demand of water, which in combination aggravates the critical long-standing water scarcity problems of the island. Several aquifers along the coast are at risk of drying out and due to saline contamination, many wells had to be abandoned because of seawater intrusion, irrigation-induced salinization (Milnes 2011), and nitrate contamination (Georgiou 2002). MAR proved to be one of the promising instruments to counteract the continuously growing water stress. With positive experiences at the Ezousas aquifer, where a MAR site is operating since 2005 and achieves promising results on water storage, a similar project started in 2017 at the Akrotiri aquifer. The new site at the Akrotiri aquifer is still in its optimization phase and has great potential for improvement.

Research objectives

The objective of the present study is to setup a numerical groundwater flow model of the MAR site in Akrotiri, Cyprus to assess the effects of MAR on the environment and reliability of water supply. Tertiary treated wastewater is infiltrated via infiltration ponds to the aquifer for irrigation purposes. The work will be part of the newly funded PRIMA project: “Adaptive agreements on benefits sharing for managed aquifer recharge in the Mediterranean region” (AGREEMAR,


After data assimilation, preparation and analysis, a MODFLOW-GUI (e.g. the free web-based INOWAS platform, will be used to setup and calibrate a numerical groundwater flow model for the Akrotiri MAR site.  The objectives of the model include to optimize the conjunctive use of groundwater and suface water to reduce the overexploitation of the aquifer, assess the reliability of water supply during drought periods, mitigate seawater intrusion and meet the water quality and environmental flow restrictions. With the help of the numerical model, the MAR scheme will be optimized with regard to land use changes, urbanisation and climate variability.

Proposed literature

Research papers and reports on modelling of MAR schemes, risks associated with MAR implementation.

Other institutions involved

ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence, Cyprus.


Prof. Andreas Hartmann, Institute of Groundwater Management, Technische Universität Dresden.


Dr. Jana Glass ( and Dr. Catalin Stefan (, Technische Universität Dresden, Dr. Constantinos Panagiotou, ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence, Cyprus.


The student shall be familiar with governing principles of managed aquifer recharge and numerical groundwater flow modelling. Previous experience with MODFLOW is preferable.