Risk Assessment of Groundwater Drawdown in Subsidence Sensitive Areas
Doktorsavhandling, 2018

Groundwater leakage into sub-surface constructions can result in drawdown, subsidence in compressible materials, and costly damage to buildings and installations. When planning for sub-surface constructions where there is a risk for land subsidence due to groundwater drawdown, the need for safety measures must be carefully evaluated and managed. Since the sub-surface consists of heterogeneous and anisotropic materials, which cannot be fully investigated in all aspects, decisions regarding safety measures must be taken under uncertainty. In this thesis, a generic framework is presented on how to assess the risk of groundwater drawdown-induced subsidence (Paper I). As specific tools for modelling uncertainties in the groundwater drawdown – subsidence – damage chain, a method for probabilistic modelling of bedrock levels and soil stratification (Paper II) and a method for probabilistic modelling of ground subsidence to a large spatial extent (Paper III) are presented. These are combined with a probabilistic groundwater model and cost functions to calculate the economic risks of subsidence damage between different design alternatives (Paper IV). Finally, a novel method for economic valuation of hydrogeological information is presented in Paper V. The methods presented can distinguish between low and high-risk areas, identify the alternative with the highest net benefit compared to a reference alternative, and estimate the expected benefit of additional information. The methods have been demonstrated to provide useful support for decision-making and communication tools when assessing the risk of large-scale groundwater drawdown-induced subsidence in different infrastructure projects in Sweden.

urban hydrogeology

inverse modelling

economic valuation

groundwater leakage

risk assessment



groundwater drawdown

spatial variability

cost-benefit analysis

uncertainty quantification

value of information analysis.

SB-H3-salen, Sven Hultins gata 6, Göteborg.
Opponent: Prof. Jens Christian Refsgaard, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark.


Jonas Sundell

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geologi och geoteknik

A framework for Risk Assessment of Groundwater Drawdown Induced Subsidence

5th International Symposium on Geotechnical Safety and Risk (ISGSR),; (2015)p. 256-262

Paper i proceeding

IV. Sundell, J., Haaf, E., Tornborg, J., & Rosén, L. Comprehensive risk assessment of groundwater drawdown-induced subsidence.

V. Sundell, J., Norberg, T., Haaf, E., & Rosén, L. Economic valuation of hydrogeological information in managing groundwater drawdown.

Riskhantering vid grundvattensänkning i sättningskänsliga områden: Kostnads-nyttoanalys av säkerhetshöjande åtgärder i infrastrukturprojekt

Formas, 2012-01-01 -- 2017-12-31.


Hållbar utveckling


Transportteknik och logistik


Annan samhällsbyggnadsteknik



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4472


Chalmers tekniska högskola

SB-H3-salen, Sven Hultins gata 6, Göteborg.

Opponent: Prof. Jens Christian Refsgaard, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark.

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