Analysis of the pros and cons of intensively developed aquifers: hydrological, economic, social and ethical issues.


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Analysis of the pros and cons of intensively developed aquifers: hydrological, economic, social and ethical issues. Proposal for an international research project. Emilio Custodio, Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). Botín Foundation. International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013. Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen! 8-10 January 2013

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Analysis of the pros and cons of intensively developed aquifers: hydrological, economic, social and ethical issues.

  1. 1. UN–Water Decade, Programme on Advocacy and CommunicationInternational Annual UN – Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/1013Preparing for the 2013 International Year: Water Cooperation: making it happen!Zaragoza 8–10 January, 2013 Side event: Analysis of the pros and cons of intensively developed aquifers: hydrological, economic, social and ethical issues. Proposal of an international study project Emilio CUSTODIO, Dr.I.I., Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences Dept. Geo–Engineering / Fund. Intern. Centre for Groundwater Hydr. Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), BarcelonaWith the collaboration of :Dr. M. Ramón Llamas, Spanish Royal Academy of SciencesDirector Water Observatory, Botin FoundationEmeritus Professor, Faculty of Geology, Complutense University,MadridWith the support of projects:● REDESAC (CGL2009–12910–C03–01)● UNESCO–IGCP–519 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–1
  2. 2. Groundwater Mining – GWMPossible definition: Depletion of freshwater reserves in the aquifers at a rate much greater than renovation This may refer to Is this GWM ? ● total water volume depletion yes ● freshwater volume depletion yes seawater intrusion perhaps ● wide scale pollution saline water encroachment ? natural contaminated water ? probably not Intensity ● no replacement no recharge in the long term yes ● slow replacement  decades to centuries yes ● moderate rate replacement  years to decades perhaps ● use of the aquifer as a temporal water reservoir ? 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–2
  3. 3. Consequences of groundwater miningPositive Benefits Negative Costs pumping energyAttending needs economic Increasing costs replacement of utilitiesDevelopment social remaking of wells on personsEmployment on cropsFixation of population Possible GW quality impairment on productionDrainage of lands on turism local Reduction of aquifer yield general Possible subsidence / collapse Ecological services impairment Decrease of other related water resources Possible pollution due to GW use direct economic  must indirect (externalities)Nature of benefits / costs include social  intangibleEffects may be long–delayed ethical  intangible consider present value  discount rate  a debatable ethical issueGW has different uses  consider opportunity costsEvaluate ecological services 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–3
  4. 4. GWM Intensity of groundwater abstraction by the year 2000, as allocated to 0.5o x 0.5o grid cells by the PCR–GLOBWB model, in mm/year (Wada et al., 2010) (Margat & van der Gun, 2012) large aquifers / areas at country levelScale is important Impacts at medium scale small significant aquifer systems small islands local 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–4 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–4
  5. 5. Evolution of aggregated groundwater abstraction from 1950 onwards for a number of countries with intensive groundwater exploitationTop–10 groundwater abstracting countries (as per 2010) km3/yr Country Abstraction (km3/year) 1 India 251 2 China 112 3 USA 112 4 Pakistan 65 5 Iran 64 6 Bangladesh 30 7 Mexico 29 8 Saudi Arabia 24 9 Indonesia 1510 Turkey 13 (Margat & van der Gun, 2012) 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–5
  6. 6. Abstraction of non-renewable groundwater by country (at the beginning of the 21 st century) GWMPercentage of total water withdrawal covered by non-renewable groundwater (at the beginning of the 21 st century) 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–6 GWM Margat & van der Gun, 2012
  7. 7. GWMGWM is:● a global phenomenon after 1940● accelerating (N. India, …)● USA = 22% of global total 1900–2008● GWM contributes 12,6 mm to sea level rise 1900–2008 (6,7% of total rise)Cumulative net groundwater depletion 1900–2008 estimated for the entire world.(Konikow, 2011) 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–7
  8. 8. GWMGroundwater footprints of aquifers important for agricultureThe equivalent recharge area for long–term use is larger than their geographic areas (Gleesson et al., 2012) Use of groundwater reserves not accounted forComments Long–term sustainability may be not the goal Non–optimal share of water resources between use and ecology 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–8
  9. 9. The Groundwater Mining Project – GWMPDuration: 2 yearsParticipation: 7 to 10 countries or well–defined regions raises his own resourcesConditions: each participant is the proprietor of what he producesCoordinator: ● sets the wanted contents 2 / 3 coordination meetings ● get resources for a small steering group producing a final comprehensive reportContent of each study (with possible adaptations to each situation) hydrogeological background ● Country / region overview of GWM water resources conditions ● Small scale case for detailed analysis economic issues and analysis social and ethical issues final balanceFinal report: responsibility  the coordinator authors / coauthors  those who want to contribute to each chapter It will be freely available on the web published as a book if it is possible 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–9
  10. 10. GWMP Tentative index of the final reportTo be followed as far as possible by country / region reports, in what applies1 ● Introduction and overview2 ● GWM hydrological effects3 ● GWM environmental effects4 ● GWM quality–related problems5 ● GWM benefits (present and discounted)6 ● GWM costs (present and discounted)7 ● GWM externality evaluation8 ● GWM social and ethical aspects under actual conditions9 ● What after GWM ceases10 ● Long–term economic and social balance11 ● Guidelines for legal norms, in general under local conditions12 ● Water policy conclusions 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–10
  11. 11. Some referencesFoster, s., Loucks, D.P. (eds.). 2011 Non–renewable groundwater resources: a guidebook on socially–sustainable management for water–policy markers IHP–VI Series on Groundwater 10. UNESCO / IAH / GW–Mate–World BanckGleeson, T., Wada, Y., Bierkens, M.F., van Beek, L.P.H. 2012 Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint Nature, 488: 197–200. DOI: 10.1038/nature11295Wada, Y., van Beek, L.P.H. 2012 Nonsustainable groundwater sustaining irrigation: a global assessment Water Resources Research, 48, DOI: 10.1029/2011WR010562Margat, J., van der Gun, J. 2012 Groundwater around the world UNESCO–PHI / IGRAC: 212 + AnnexesCustodio, E. 2012 Intensive groundwater development: A water cycle transformation, a social revolution, a management challenge In: L. Martínez–Cortina, A. Garrido and E. López–Gunn: Rethinking Water and Food Security Chap. 14. FB / CRC Press: 259–298Aeschbach–Hertig, W., Gleeson, T. 2012 Regional strategies for accelerating global problems of groundwater depletion Nature Geoscience, 5, Dec. 2012: 853–861 2013–GWM–UN–Zaragoza–