Home Database Research and knowledge projects Top soil and water - The climate challenge in the near subsurface

Top soil and water - The climate challenge in the near subsurface (TOPSOIL)


The TOPSOIL project explores the possibilities of using the topsoil layers to solve current and future water challenges. It looks beneath the surface of the ground, predicts and finds solutions for climate related threats, like flooding during wet periods and drought during warmer seasons.

The overall objective of the project is the joint development of methods to describe and manage the uppermost 30m of the subsurface, in order to improve the climate resilience of the North Sea Region. In addition, the project will demonstrate a practical implementation of solutions in 16 pilot projects.

To make sure the proposed objectives are met by the end of the project, five major working areas have been identified where international cooperation will be particularly beneficial:

  • Flooding in towns and agricultural areas due to the rising groundwater table caused by changed precipitation patterns.
  • Saltwater intrusion into freshwater reserves due to rising sea levels and changed irrigation, drainage and drinking water demands.
  • The need for a groundwater buffer to store water in periods of excess rainfall. The buffer of fresh water can be used for irrigation purposes during dry periods.
  • Better knowledge and management of soil conditions, which will provide better resilience to extreme rainfall events, improve water quality and crop yields.
  • The capacity to break down nutrients and other environmentally hazardous pollutants in the uppermost layers is yet unexplored. By improving our understanding, better land management can be implemented.

Project information


Central Denmark Region


Hunze en Aa’s regional water authority, Netherlands

Waterschap Noorderzijlvest, Netherlands

The Rivers Trust, UK

Wear Rivers Trust, UK

Durham University, UK

Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust, UK

Norfolk Rivers Trust, UK

Northumbrian Water Limited, UK

Flanders Environment Agency; Be

University Bremen Geological Survey of Bremen, Germany

Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Belgium

Umbrella waterboard for Irrigation in the county of Uelzen, Belgium

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Belgium

Municipality of Herning, Denmark

Horsens Municipality, Denmark

Hydrogeophysics group, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Denmark

State Authority for Mining, Energy and Geology, Denmark

State Agency for Agriculture, Environment and rural Areas Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark

Region of Southern Denmark

Province of Drenthe, Netherlands

Waterboard of Oldenburg, Germany

Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Germany

Chamber of Agriculture Lower Saxony, Germany

Source of funding

Interreg North Sea Region

Reference information


Published in Climate-ADAPT Nov 05 2019   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

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