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Abstract

Globally, groundwater is by far the largest store of liquid freshwater, making it a key component of a secure water supply. However, over the past few decades the amount of usable groundwater available around the world has rapidly decreased. This depletion is caused primarily by mismanagement (e.g., overpumping, contamination, and under-regulation), but also by reduced natural recharge due to climate change and urbanization. Management of groundwater resources is particularly challenging for the nearly 600 aquifers that are transboundary, meaning that they extend across international political borders. To understand how governance mechanisms can reduce water insecurity in transboundary groundwater contexts, we review key literature from what we view as the most relevant fields: groundwater management, water security, international water law and international water governance. We then formulate a set of recommendations for improved groundwater governance that can address the specific physical nature of groundwater systems, enhance water security, and apply to transboundary groundwater settings. We argue that groundwater governance in transboundary contexts requires processes that (1) enhance context-specific and flexible international mechanisms; (2) address the perpetual need for groundwater data and information; (3) prioritize the precautionary principle and pollution prevention, in particular; (4) where appropriate, integrate governance of surface and subsurface water and land; and (5) expand institutional capacity, especially of binational or multinational actors.

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... Experts agree that study of groundwater governance institutions and policies is needed to identify models for good groundwater governance [13]. In recent years, groundwater governance has received growing attention in scholarly work [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]. Notable efforts involving government officials, academics, and other expert practitioners include the Global Environmental Facility-funded project "Groundwater Governance: A Global Framework for Action" [21], and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Water Governance Initiative, which focuses on governance on all types of water [22]. ...
... In the U.S., research related to groundwater governance and management in the 50 U.S. states is limited. Other analyses have focused on the watershed scale e.g., [23][24][25][26][27], the regional scale [19,28,29], or internationally-shared watersheds e.g., [18,20,[30][31][32]. Though some research has been conducted on state-level groundwater governance and management in the U.S. [33][34][35][36], few researchers have examined water governance and management at the state level, despite the fact that most governance strategies and management actions are focused at this level. ...
... Most of the impediments to sustainable groundwater management observed across the world can be linked to failures in groundwater governance structures [17,20,21]. Many of these impediments are due to challenges related to: fragmented and overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities, competing priorities, water rights and water pricing structures, and diverging opinions on how it should be governed and managed [53]. ...
Article
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Groundwater is increasingly important for meeting water demand across the United States (U.S.). Forward thinking governance and effective management are necessary for its sustainable use. In the U.S., state governments are primarily responsible for groundwater governance (i.e., making laws, policies, and regulations) and management (i.e., implementation of laws, policies, and regulations). This decentralized system results in diverse strategies and practices. We surveyed a water quality professional from each state to better understand commonalities and differences across states. These professionals identify a wide assortment of groundwater issues and concerns, including quality and quantity impairment, staffing and budget issues, private well vulnerability, and overdraft. Respondents indicate contamination problems from natural and anthropogenic sources. Most respondents report that their states have significantly changed groundwater quality policy during the past 30 years. While most states have multiple funding sources for water quality programs, program budgets have decreased in the last decade, thereby hindering effective implementation of new policies. Over half of respondents indicate that water-quality/water-level monitoring and increased groundwater pumping will require more attention over the next decade. Several respondents anticipate groundwater regulation changes in the next five years. We discuss how our findings align with current groundwater uses in the U.S.
... Several articles have identified elements, or "pillars," of surface water and groundwater governance (e.g., [10,[37][38][39][40][41]). Regarding groundwater, principles for management, planning, and assessment can be summarized as follows: stakeholder engagement and inclusion, proper assessment and data for analysis, management and planning for groundwater use, integrated water management, and protection of groundwater resources [10,38,39]. ...
... Several articles have identified elements, or "pillars," of surface water and groundwater governance (e.g., [10,[37][38][39][40][41]). Regarding groundwater, principles for management, planning, and assessment can be summarized as follows: stakeholder engagement and inclusion, proper assessment and data for analysis, management and planning for groundwater use, integrated water management, and protection of groundwater resources [10,38,39]. ...
... Long-term planning for sustainable groundwater management also requires both characterization and ongoing monitoring due to the complexity and everchanging conditions of aquifer systems and inherent scientific uncertainty in groundwater evaluation. Management practices need to account for hydrogeological characteristics of transboundary aquifers via such strategies as pollution prevention, integrated land and water management, and context-specific approaches [39,[54][55][56]. ...
Article
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Sharing scientific data and information is often cited within academic literature as an initial step of water cooperation, but the transfer of research findings into policy and practice is often slow and inconsistent. Certain attributes—including salience, credibility, and legitimacy of scientific information; iterative information production; and sociocultural factors—may influence how easily scientific information can be used in management and policymaking. However, transnationality usually complicates these sorts of interactions. Accordingly, we argue that the production of scientific information and transboundary water cooperation build upon each other bidirectionally, each informing and enhancing the other. We employ a case-study analysis of the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP), a binational collaborative effort for scientific assessment of aquifers shared between Mexico and the United States. Here, information sharing was possible only by first completing a formal, jointly agreed-upon cooperative framework in 2009. This framework resulted in a collaborative science production process, suggesting that the relationship between sharing data and information and transboundary groundwater governance is iterative and self-reinforcing. In keeping with the publication of the TAAP’s first binational scientific report in 2016, we demonstrate the bidirectional relationship between science production and water governance in the TAAP and explore remaining challenges after scientific assessment.
... Optimal groundwater abstraction likely requires one or both countries to credibly commit to reduce their pumping. Trust is critical for this to happen, particularly in an international context where the objectives of multiple countries may be in opposition (Wolf et al., 2005), cooperation produces additional risk (Hoffman, 2002), and complete oversight of groundwater abstraction is impractical given the hidden nature of the resource (Albrecht et al., 2017). Trust building initiatives are essential components of transboundary negotiations over water, particularly in situations where international partners do not have a history of cooperation (Wolf, 2010;Susskind and Islam, 2012;Islam and Susskind, 2013). ...
... We apply game theory to investigate how economic incentives, hydrogeological constraints, and trust can incentivize formal cooperation over shared groundwater. Although these incentives may influence cooperative outcomes, a variety of factors determine whether or not a treaty is signed in any particular aquifer including domestic politics, diplomatic relations, and institutional capacity (Albrecht et al., 2017). As such, the objective of the model is to facilitate an understanding of cooperation rather than for prediction. ...
Article
International transboundary aquifers provide important water supplies to over 150 countries. Long-term sustainability of these aquifers requires transboundary cooperation and yet only a select few (1%) transboundary aquifers are regulated by a treaty. To better understand the incentives that allow treaties to emerge, we develop a two-player game theoretic model that couples groundwater behavior and economic incentives to represent the social dilemma of transboundary aquifer cooperation. The game incorporates economic incentives and hydrogeological features and highlights the importance of trust to evaluate the benefits and risks of a treaty. We demonstrate the ability of the game to reproduce key features of cooperation in the Genevese aquifer, which is governed by the longest-running and most collaborative transboundary aquifer treaty on record. We analyze the comparative statics of the game to explore the role of groundwater connectivity, alternative water supply, water demand, and trust on the emergence of transboundary treaties. The solution space highlights how economic incentives for cooperation are greatest when the value of water is commensurate with the cost of groundwater abstraction. Cooperation requires high trust in situations characterized by water abundance or scarcity. The model results further indicate how two different types of agreements are likely to emerge. Treaties that limit how much is being pumped have greater potential when countries have access to an alternative water source, whereas treaties that restrict where the aquifer is being exploited have greater potential in water-scarce regions with emerging concerns over groundwater depletion. In addition to helping explain the emergence of existing treaties, this framework offers potential to identify aquifers that may be amenable to cooperation.
... When considering transboundary groundwater, a water-security framing sheds light on the dual need for both protections of the physical resource and improved governance (Albrecht et al. 2017). Groundwater is particularly vulnerable to degradation because impacts-such as pollution or overuse-are difficult to monitor and may occur slowly over many decades. ...
... For example, studies of transboundary groundwater emphasize the need for on-going collection and exchange of data and information to address to improve understanding of the resource, promote cross-border cooperation, and enhance water security (Comair et al. 2013;Petersen-Perlman and Wolf 2015). Improved institutional capacity is also a key factor in enabling international cooperation on groundwater (Conti 2014) and is recommended at both the local and binational level to address transboundary groundwater security (Albrecht et al. 2017). For example, in the Guarani Aquifer System in South America, while an agreement exists, increased institutional capacity is needed to enforce groundwater regulations at a national level, and facilitate cross-border exchange of information (Petersen-Perlman and Wolf 2015; Sugg et al. 2015). ...
... De acuerdo con la UNESCO y el Programa Hidrológico Internacional (2015), así como los análisis académicos (Robins & Fergusson;Rivera, 2015;Sanchez, Lopez, & Eckstein, 2016;Albrecht et al., 2017), para lograr una adecuada gobernanza de las aguas subterráneas transfronterizas, se debe priorizar su caracterización científi ca y evaluación integral; de lo contrario, es posible la confi guración de confl ictos políticos y la profundización de asimetrías entre las naciones que comparten acuíferos. Esto signifi ca, que la carencia de datos fundamentales que permitan poseer una visión sistémica y homogénea del funcionamiento de los cursos de agua compartidos es, sin duda, un factor de confl icto. ...
... Estos principios están presentes en instrumentos legales vinculantes como el Convenio UNECE (1992) 4 y la Convención de Nueva York (1997). 5 Para autores como Rivera (2015) y Albrecht et al., (2017), el principio que siempre debe prevalecer es el de no causar un daño signifi cativo, pues la extracción irracional del agua alterará irreversiblemente la naturaleza del sistema impactando negativamente su calidad, volumen y capacidad de recarga y descarga del acuífero, impidiendo su función esencial en el sostenimiento de la biodiversidad y, en consecuencia, en el combate al cambio climático. ...
Article
Recientemente, se concluyó la evaluación hidrogeológica binacional de cuatro acuíferos transfronterizos Estados Unidos-México, entre ellos el Acuífero Río San Pedro. Una revisión exhaustiva y crítica del reporte final indica un trabajo de cooperación cercana, no obstante, parece haberse logrado poco con respecto a los aspectos científicos y políticos, ambos imprescindibles en la evaluación de los acuíferos transfronterizos. Este artículo provee, desde un enfoque interdisciplinario (Geografía Política e Hidrogeología), un análisis crítico de las implicaciones científicas y políticas de los resultados de la evaluación del acuífero. Se concluye que, para prevenir el conflicto y fortalecer la evaluación hidrogeológica, es necesario robustecer la conceptualización y visión sistémica del agua subterránea, su monitoreo y la homologación e intercambio de datos para el manejo transfronterizo del acuífero. English: A binational hydrogeological evaluation of four US-Mexico transboundary aquifers was recently completed, including the San Pedro River aquifer. A thorough and critical review of the final report indicates close cooperation, but list􏰂le seems to have been achieved on many sci- entific, technical, legal and political aspects, which are essential for the comprehensive assessment of transboundary groundwater. This article provides a critical analysis of the scientific and political implications of the evaluation of the aquifer from an interdisciplinary approach (political geography and hydrogeology). It concludes that for the prevention of the conflict and the strengthening of the incipient hydrogeological evaluation schemes, it is necessary to strengthen the conceptualization and systemic vision of groundwater functions, monitoring and the homologation and exchange of data for the cross-border management of the aquifer. You can download this paper: https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/regions-and-cohesion/9/1/reco090106.xml
... multilateral organisations, NGOs) is a delicate matter in (failed) countries where sovereignty is already in jeopardy; the inexistence of previous cooperation on the matter is also a hindering factor. All of which are requirements for proper construction of cross-border water management (Albrecht et al. 2017). ...
... Groundwater is one of the most important sources of water supply in arid regions. With no 'vertical integration' (i.e. between local and national levels), borderlands suffer from the lack of formal projects able to build institutional capacity to foster equitable resource governance (Albrecht et al. 2017). However, when analysing water conflicts happening exclusively within borderlands, one finds that such clashes involve solely local populations for subsistence. ...
Chapter
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This chapter explores the IPE of borders from experiences of the Global South. It studies ‘negative’ aspects of regionalism and the inclusion of borders and borderlands in the regional and global production and power systems. It explores ‘shadow regionalism’ in borderlands by analysing the nodes between formal and informal networks and processes. By applying a global yet bottom-up perspective in specific cases of cross-border interactions, six nodes are identified: the role of corruption and kinship relations in the spreading of transnational crime, the effects of institutional vacuum and an idea of development and industrialisation on cross-border natural resources, and the influence of market demands and conflict on international migratory flows. These nodes are found to be multilevel, interconnected and overlapping, pervading all areas of socio-economic and political relations among states and domestically, affecting regional settings and global systems.
... In many low-and middle-income countries, hydrogeological capacity is missing, even when groundwater makes up the largest part of their managed water resources (Foster, 2020). This lack of capacity often comprises both human capacity as well as institutional capacity (Abdolvand et al., 2015;Albrecht et al., 2017). Weak institutional groundwater governance and management, in turn, undermine associated water security (United Nations, 2018). ...
Chapter
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Climate change strongly influences freshwater supply and demand globally. Warming of ~1°C over the last half century globally has directly impacted the supply of freshwater through the amplification of precipitation extremes, more frequent and pronounced floods and droughts, increasing evapotranspiration rates, rising sea levels, and changing precipitation and meltwater regimes. Groundwater, the world’s largest distributed store of freshwater, is naturally well placed to play a vital role in enabling societies to adapt to intermittent and sustained water shortages caused by climate change. It is also essential to satisfy the increased demand for water in order to realize many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including no. 2 (zero hunger), 6 (water for all) and 13 (climate action). Aquifers transmitting and storing groundwater can also contribute to climate change mitigation through the use of geothermal energy to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as the capture and storage of emitted CO2. This chapter reviews the latest understanding of the impacts of climate change on groundwater quantity and quality as well as the opportunities, risks and challenges posed by the development of aquifers for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
... Also, collaboration is critical among stakeholders at all levels and must cut across governments and organizations from the local to the international level. Cooperation will enable proper investigation of the socio-economic and ecological implications of collaborative management of shared aquifers (Albrecht et al., 2017) in the face of climate change, and bridging the gap of groundwater sustainability. Collaboration through a multidisciplinary approach can foster protection and restoration of ecosystems that are vital water resources areas (e.g. ...
... The Convention went into force after ratification by 35 countries in 2014 (Zhong et al., 2016). However, it remains applicable only to those countries which ratified it (Albrecht et al., 2017). ...
... Another interpretation of water security discourse is driven by delineating and better understanding of hydropolitics which combine elements from transboundary water governance (Albrecht et al. 2017, Earle et al. 2010, Jong et al. 2010, Appelgren and Klohn 1997, Sadoff and Grey 2005 and revision of international security concerns through hydropolitical theories (Wegerich and Warner 2010, Mirumachi 2015, Haefner 2016, Ribeiro and Sant'Anna 2014, Gleditsch et al. 2006, Böhmelt et al. 2014). The essence of hydropolitical approaches lay in exploring possibility to ensure the national water security and deepen complex water cooperation between socio-economic and political-environmental sectors. ...
Thesis
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Presented thesis offers a comprehensive analysis of national water security in the Mekong River Basin. In the first part of the text, I am debating about what is the water security, what are the actors ensuring the national water security and what kind of factors play role in ensuring national water security. The purpose of this thesis is not to find an ultimate definition or ideal framework based on merely security studies, but rather to show how securing of freshwater resources may be interpreted, who pursue water-related national interests and what exactly various political and apolitical actors (hydrocracy) want to ensure in terms of national water security. My interpretation of water security is therefore embedded into the realm of hydropolitics and water governance where international rivers play important role in ensuring national water security. In the second part of the text, I am debating about capacities, capabilities and involvement of various hydrocracies in water resources management, and forms of political justification that lead to conflict of interests among hydrocracies. Although the ultimate goals (hydrocratic missions) for ensuring national water security are quite clear, some hydrocracies may also pursue their own interests or justify other hydrocratic interests that may potentially ensure the national water security. This political schism is not only limited within but also beyond state’s territory. To demonstrate the conflict of interests among hydrocracies, I modified framework of hydrohegemony in order to analyse not only hydropolitical relations among hydrocracies from various riparian states, but also to show how national water security may be also ensured externally. In the third part of the text, I am delineating parameters and indicators that indicating how particular state is powerful to ensure its national water security or not. My investigations are therefore implemented in part four and five where I am analysing complex Mekong River Basin development between China, Myanmar and Cambodia. To strengthen the credibility of the research, I undertook several research trips in all selected countries and made numerous interviews with governmental authorities, corporate representatives and local communities between years 2016-2018. This helped me to refine my previous observation and to more intensively probe political rhetoric which is justifying basin development. To highlight the current situation in the basin, I have decided to focus on China’s hydrocracy involvement, particularly on development of Chinese hydropower dams that may strengthen or weaken ensuring national water securities in Myanmar and Cambodia. To conclude, national water security may be ensured various ways and always imply “water security for whom”. Despite none of riparian states fully utilize Mekong waters, China’s hydropower development of the basin bring more positives than negatives.
... Here, the water-energy nexus is evident as cheaper pumping technology and easier energy access has enabled extraction, often at the individual level (Shah 2014). However, groundwater governance, especially for transboundary aquifers, has yet to be well established (Albrecht et al. 2017). There are also reported cases where efforts to improve irrigation efficiency have not contributed to the reduction of groundwater use, but rather the opposite (Pfeiffer and Lin 2014). ...
Chapter
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Coordinating Lead Author: Peter King (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies) Lead Authors: Erica Gaddis (Utah Department of Environmental Quality), James Grellier (European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter), Anna Maria Grobicki (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO]), Rowena Hay (Umvoto), Naho Mirumachi (King’s College London), Gavin Mudd (RMIT University), Farhad Mukhtarov (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Walter Rast (Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University), GEO Fellows: Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Jaee Sanjay Nikam (Arizona State University), Patricia Nayna Schwerdtle (Monash University)
... Due to the wide spread of Ghanats, reviving this declining water source will help towards reviving sustainable rural communities [51] as well as improving equality to access of water reserves. Due to the inherent Win-Win scenario presented, a Tragedy of Commons [52][53][54][55] is not only avoided, but a Plasmonic Polymer Photovoltaics -CAES will even aid for the revival of a Commons that has been declining for centuries. As opposed to the environmental concerns of renewable energy systems, Ghanat based CAES systems could revive the underground aquatic biodiversity [51] among which microorganisms [56] critical to drug and fuel cell development many be cultivated. ...
Conference Paper
In spite of the industrial advances made possible by fossil fuel, it is not possible – economically or environmentally – to fuel growth through non-renewable energy sources. Solar energy has the potential to provide cheap and renewable energy not only locally, but on a national level. To this end, traditional silicon photovoltaics faces limitations with regards to efficiency as well as economics. Thanks to the solution-processing friendly organic solar cells, they are a prime candidate for wide scale use of photovoltaic technologies. The Achilles' heel of organic solar cells lies in their lower efficiency. Herein we present a case study on the use of plasmonic nanoparticles to increase the power conversion efficiency. Based on a case study in Lut Desert of Iran, the increase in power efficiency is demonstrated. A discussion is presented on the case involving the use of 2% of the area for power generation.
... Also, collaboration is critical among stakeholders at all levels and must cut across governments and organizations from the local to the international level. Cooperation will enable proper investigation of the socio-economic and ecological implications of collaborative management of shared aquifers (Albrecht et al., 2017) in the face of climate change, and bridging the gap of groundwater sustainability. Collaboration through a multidisciplinary approach can foster protection and restoration of ecosystems that are vital water resources areas (e.g. ...
Article
The widespread uncertainty regarding future changes in climate, socioeconomic conditions, and population growth have increased interest in water-energy-food-ecology nexus-based frameworks in relation to the analysis of water resources. A challenge for modeling the water-energy-food-ecology nexus is how to reduce the multidimensional and codependent uncertainties and measure the complicated casual relationships effectively. We propose a methodological solution to the problem, and this solution is demonstrated in this case as an extension to the previous water resource optimization framework. We coupled the water-energy-food-ecology nexus into the Bayesian network, which provides a formal representation of the joint probabilistic behavior of the system, and the method was applied to water resource use analysis and management in the Syr Darya River basin, a transboundary and endorheic basin that has contributed to the Aral Sea ecological crisis as a result of unreasonable water use. The annual scale data of four periods, 1970-1980, 1980-1991, 1991-2005, and 2005-2015, were introduced into the Bayesian network. Before the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the amount of water inflow into the Aral Sea was sensitive to increases in irrigation for agricultural development, increases in water storage of the upstream reservoirs and stochastic runoff. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the amount of water inflow into the Aral Sea was sensitive to the inefficient irrigation water use in the downstream areas of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and the water storage of the reservoir located upstream of Kyrgyzstan. The change resulted from unresolvable disputes between water use for power generation in the upstream area and irrigation in the downstream area. Comprehensive scenario analysis shows that, in the short term, it would be useful to improve the proportion of food crops, improve the efficiency of water use in relation to salt leaching and irrigation, and prevent drought damage. In the long term, based on the increased use of advanced drip irrigation technology from 50% to 80%, the annual inflow into the Aral Sea will increase significantly, reaching 6.4 km3 and 9.6 km3, respectively, and this technology is capable of ameliorating the ecological crisis within the basin.
... Groundwater pumping or a contaminant plume in one region may ultimately impact groundwater or surface water resources in another management jurisdiction. Transboundary aquifers are a major topic of hydrogeological and political studies, with no clear standard for legal resolution (130,131). ...
Article
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Depletion and pollution of groundwater, Earth's largest and most accessible freshwater stock, is a global sustainability concern. A changing climate, marked by more frequent and intense hydrologic extremes, poses threats to groundwater recharge and amplifies groundwater use. However, widespread human development and contamination of groundwater reservoirs pose an immediate threat of resource extinction with impacts in many regions with dense population or intensive agriculture. A rapid increase in global groundwater studies has emerged, but this has also highlighted the extreme paucity of data for substantive trend analyses and assessment of the state of the global resource. Noting the difficulty in seeing and measuring this typically invisible resource, we discuss factors that determine the current state of global groundwater, including the uncertainties accompanying data and modeling, with an eye to identifying emerging issues and the prospects for informing local to global resource management in critical regions. We comment on some prospective management strategies. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 45 is October 19, 2020. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... Some of the international guidelines related to transboundary groundwater resources include the 1966 Helsinki Rules, the 1986 Seoul Rules, the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of Transboundary Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention), the 1999 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, the 2004 Berlin Rules, and the 2008 Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers [29][30][31]. These guidelines serve as a reference for groundwater management. ...
Article
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The assessment of transboundary aquifers is essential for the development of groundwater management strategies and the sustainable use of groundwater resources. The Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP) is a joint effort by the United States and Mexico to evaluate shared aquifers. This study examines the TAAP Cooperative Framework as a guide for further transboundary groundwater collaboration. We compared lessons learned from six transboundary aquifers that currently have mechanisms for groundwater collaboration to identify common elements of collaboration. Though the TAAP Cooperative Framework governs an assessment-only program, the elements of collaboration included are consistent with the principles of other institutional agreements around the world. Importantly, all the analyzed agreements included a knowledge-improvement phase, which is the main objective of the TAAP Cooperative Framework. The present study finds evidence of successful outcomes within the TAAP Cooperative Framework consistent with available transboundary groundwater management agreements, demonstrating that this approach is suited to serve as a model for those wishing to engage in transborder aquifer assessments. Furthermore, the TAAP elements of collaboration can help to establish the meaningful and robust binational cooperation necessary for the development of U.S.-Mexico groundwater management agreements at the aquifer level.
... The most important factor in LCC in recent decades has been human development activities (e.g., agricultural, industrial and residential), and water plays a key role in this regard (Ferreira et al., 2009;Wang et al., 2018;Rahman et al., 2019). The Aras River has a transboundary basin, and countries are trying to make the most of the transboundary basins (Albrecht et al., 2017;Barasa et al., 2011). Therefore, one of the most important drivers in the LCCs of Aras Basin can be considered the macro-policies of Turkey in river water consumption (Bybee, 2015;Jongerden, 2010). ...
... Center (IGRAC), el Programa Hidrológico Internacional de la UNESCO (PHI-UNESCO), el Banco Mundial y la Internacional Association of Hydrogeologist (IAH), en América del Norte se identificaron hasta el momento, 21 acuíferos transfronterizos situados entre Canadá y Estados Unidos, y este último con México (UNESCO 2015). No obstante, las recomendaciones especializadas (Rivera 2015;Sánchez et al. 2016;Albrecht et al. 2017;Golovina 2018) indican que es indispensable efectuar estudios más profundos para determinar con precisión aspectos tales como su geometría 3D, el modelo de funcionamiento del agua subterránea que circula dentro del acuífero, la población que habita y depende de los flujos del agua subterránea, la caracterización de las actividades económicas, la proyección futura de los requerimientos que demanden esta agua y la definición del marco legal para su gestión compartida. 17 Para efectuar con éxito dichos estudios y garantizar las condiciones mínimas de su gobernanza y conservación ambiental, es imprescindible la cooperación de los Estados que comparten los flujos de agua y los acuíferos. ...
Article
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En la integración energética de América del Norte, Estados Unidos impulsa la expansión geográfica del fracking hacía Canadá y México para extraer gas shale, aprovechando los yacimientos transfronterizos compartidos con ambos países. Aunque, el agua subterránea transfronteriza podría ser un insumo estratégico para dicho proceso, suele considerársele como un asunto estrictamente técnico. Este trabajo analiza desde el enfoque del ciclo hidrosocial, el conjunto de datos relativos a tres componentes clave que indicen en el aprovechamiento del gas shale: los shale play transfronterizos (como yacimientos de hidrocarburos), el fracking (como método extractivo) y los acuíferos transfronterizos (como supuesto “reservorio” hídrico). Los hallazgos refieren distintos niveles de conocimiento, persiste todavía una comprensión espacial fragmentada del fenómeno fracking, como problema escalar regional y transfronterizo que exige una visión que articule distintos saberes y partes interesadas a fin de proteger y conservar el agua subterránea.
... Instead of acquiring an integrated understanding and developing a shared vision over the aquifer system, the authorities of the implicated country monitor and manage it separately and independently at each side of the border. The lack of cooperation and coordination between nations might generate risks and potentiate conflicts (Albrecht et al., 2017;Eckstein and Eckstein, 2005). ...
Article
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The Caplina/Concordia transboundary coastal aquifer system, located in the Atacama Desert, is the primary source of water supply for domestic use and irrigation for La Yarada-Los Palos (Peru) and Concordia (Chile) agriculture districts, and to a lesser extent, for Tacna province public supply use (Peru). Despite the scarce amount of rainfall (<20 mm/year) in the area and the limited recharge coming from the Andean highlands, this transboundary aquifer system has been overexploited mainly for agriculture since before the 2000s on the Peruvian side. Consequently, this has caused groundwater depletion and seawater intrusion. In this study, comprehensive hydrogeological information was integrated to understand the aquifer system's behavior and the effects to which it has been subjected to groundwater overexploitation. To that end, a 3D hydrogeological framework was developed using the LEAPFROG software and a constant-density groundwater flow model with equivalent heads was generated in FEFLOW software, which was adjusted with Monte Carlo analysis and conventional automated calibration. Finally, eight scenarios, considering various water resource management options proposed by the authority and potential climatic trends (CMIP6), were simulated from 2020 to 2040. The results showed that between 2002 and 2020, the increase in the seawater wedge and the average groundwater level decline were 216 hm3/year and 7 m, respectively. It is expected that the depletion will continue with a groundwater level decline between 5 and 8 m and an increase in the seawater wedge between 1120 hm3/year and 1175 hm3/year for the forecast period. The study concludes that the aquifer system will remain unsustainable for the next 20 years, regardless of the selected scenarios, and suggests that any mitigation measure requires the participation of stakeholders from Peru, Chile, and Bolivia.
... The general hypothesis is that there is good groundwater potential in Beles basin, but the surface/groundwater interactions and inter-basin groundwater flows need to be studied in detail. An emerging researchable, trans-border groundwater security needs also to be considered (Albrecht et al. 2017). ...
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We have investigated the relevance of the notion of "peripheralism" in the Beles basin. In this lowland border area of Ethiopia, important investments require an evaluation of their socioeconomic and ecological impacts in the light of Ethiopia's Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy. We contrasted literature of different periods with field observations. In the middle and lower basin, the Gumuz people traditionally practiced shifting cultivation. Resettlement of highlanders is particularly linked to water and land resources. A large irrigation project was initiated in the 1980s, but vegetables and fruits face post-harvest losses. Large water transfers from Lake Tana since 2010 affect the movement of people, the hydrogeomorphology and ecology of the river. In several parts of the basin, the settlers' economy now dominates. Many Gumuz became sedentary but maintained their agricultural system, particularly in the south of the lower basin. Land titling allowed allocation of "vacant" areas to transnational or domestic investors. As a result, the semi-natural vegetation is frequently replaced by open cropland, leading to decreased carbon storage and increased soil erosion. This, and water abstraction for irrigation jeopardises hydropower production, in contradiction with the CRGE objectives. Despite the recent developments, the contrasts in economic activity make the core-periphery dichotomy to remain actual in the Beles basin. The resettlements and permanent cropping tend to make the upper basin part of the core. However, the installation of a transit road and commercial farms in the lower basin do not allow to consider that a non-peripheral integration has taken place.
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The present study describes the status of glacier resources of Ganglas, Phyang, Khalsar, Rong, and No. -5 catchments of the Ladakh Mountain Range (LMR) of upper Indus Basin, a Trans-Himalayan region. In this region, the Leh town and its surrounding areas rely primarily for water supplies on the streams, springs, and groundwater fed by the glacier meltwater covering high altitude areas of LMR. However, during recent years, the demand for water supplies in this area has increased rapidly due to the rapid population growth and urbanization, growing economic development, and higher influx of tourists. Therefore, for the assessment of these glacier resources, the Survey of India (SoI) maps, Landsat data (TM, ETM+, OLI/TIRS), Google earth images, and ASTER DEM have been used. An inventory of 90 glaciers covering an area of 21.1 km2 comprising 2.6% of the total area of the study basins has been generated for 2017 (OLI/TIRS). The glaciers are small in size (mean size − 0.24 km2), high altitude (mean elevation − 5570 m amsl), northerly facing (NW-NE), and moderately steep (10°– 40°). Using SoI as a base map, the glaciers indicated a loss of 21.2% (5.1 km2) at a rate of 93 m2/year from 1962 to 2017. However, using the TM-2000 scene as a base map, the glaciers indicated a loss of 12.5% (2.7 km2) at a rate of 160 m2/year from 2000 to 2017, a recent time period. The small glaciers (size <0.12 km2) indicated a loss of 17.9% whereas the glaciers lying in the elevation zone of 5800–6000 m (amsl) and above indicated a loss of 44.1%. The glaciers with a steep slope (50°–60°) and southerly aspect indicated a loss of 18.9% and 20.7%, respectively. Overall, the small and high altitude glaciers with a southerly aspect and steep slope indicated a higher area loss. This glacier loss may have a strong influence on the downstream water resources and supplies of the area. Nevertheless, these observations may help in planning and developing better strategies for the management of various sources of water supplies in this area.
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In this study, we have examined the ionic and physical properties of Gangotri glacier meltwater as well as the prominent weathering process to determine the sources of solute. The meltwater samples were collected throughout the ablation periods of 2015 and 2016 near the snout of the glacier. The results, obtained by chemical analysis of the meltwater indicate that it is somewhat acidic in nature with CaSO4-type water. In the meltwater, Ca2+ is the foremost cation followed by Mg2+, Na+, and K+ as well as SO42− is the leading anion followed by HCO3−, Cl−, and F− during both the ablation periods. Based on the calculated denudation rate of the ions, we conclude that denudation rates of cation were 20.24 and 18.66 ton/km2/ablation in 2015 and 2016 correspondingly, while the anion denudation rates were 89.01 and 92.13 ton/km2/ablation during years 2015 and 2016 correspondingly.
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Abstract: One of the aspects highlighted in the Framework for Action and other key documents produced by the Groundwater Governance Project (funded by GEF and implemented by UNESCO, FAO, World Bank and IAH) is the interdependence between groundwater and human activities related to other physical components of the real world. Consequently, it is important in groundwater governance to make essential linkages with other components of the water cycle (IWRM), with sanitation and wastewater management, with land use and land use practices, with energy and with the uses of subsurface space and other subsurface resources. This paper presents an overall description of the multiple uses of the subsurface space and of the exploitation and management of subsurface resources. It attempts to give an impression of intensities and trends in use and exploitation, of the possible interactions and of current and potential efforts to control negative impacts of such interactions. It concludes by briefly summarizing in three simple steps how to improve groundwater governance by making appropriate linkages with uses of the subsurface space and subsurface resources.
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The complexity of natural resource use processes and dynamics is now well accepted and described in theories ranging across the sciences from ecology to economics. Based upon these theories, management frameworks have been developed within the research community to cope with complexity and improve natural resource management outcomes. Two notable frameworks, Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and Adaptive Management (AM) have been developed within the domain of water resource management over the past thirty or so years. Such frameworks provide testable statements about how best to organise knowledge production and use to facilitate the realisation of desirable outcomes including sustainable resource use. However evidence for the success of IWRM and AM is mixed and they have come under criticism recently as failing to provide promised benefits. This paper critically reviews the claims made for IWRM and AM against evidence from their implementation and explores whether or not criticisms are rooted in problems encountered during the translation from research to practice. To achieve this we review the main issues that challenge the implementation of both frameworks. More specifically, we analyse the various definitions and descriptions of IWRM and AM. Our findings suggest that similar issues have affected the lack of success that practitioners have experienced throughout the implementation process for both frameworks. These findings are discussed in the context of the broader societal challenge of effective translation of research into practice, science into policy and ambition into achievement.
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This book presnts a unique and up-to-date summary of what is known about groundwater on our planet, from a global perspective and in trems of area-specific factual information. See: https://www.crcpress.com/Groundwater-around-the-World-A-Geographic-Synopsis/Margat-Gun/9781138000346
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Study region: Canada–USA border. Study focus: Since 2005, Canada has followed international developments in transboundary groundwater issues in cooperation with its southern neighbor the United States (USA) within the Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management Initiative (ISARM) of UNESCO. As a result, 10 Transboundary Aquifer Systems (TAS) were identified along the border between Canada and the USA. This study is an extensive review of the current state of the 10 TAS. Documentation of scientifically-based knowledge on TAS is an important step in identifying potential issues in policies that might be adopted to address shared water-resource issues. New hydrological insights for the region: This analysis emphasizes the need for more scientific data, widespread education and training, and a more clearly defined governments’ role to manage groundwater at the international level. The study reviews the current legal framework and summarises the current scientific knowledge for the TAS with respect to the hydrologic and geologic framework as well as some of the major drivers for supply and demand. It also describes the links, approach and relevance of studies on the TAS to the UN Law of Transboundary Aquifers and on how these might fit in the regional strategy for the assessment and management of the TAS. Clear communication, shared knowledge and common objectives in the management of TAS will prepare the countries for future negotiations and cooperative binational programs.
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Climate change, rapid urbanization, and the emerging carbon economy, among other factors, have elevated the energy-water nexus from an operational tool to a new joint-resource management and policy paradigm. Nowhere in North America, and in few regions globally, is this need greater than in the Southwest United States and Northwest Mexico. In the states of Arizona and Sonora, investment is inadequate to meet energy and water infrastructure needs. On par with critical infrastructure in economic development terms, agriculture is likewise energy-intensive and currently consumes the largest share of water resources in both states. The important gains to be made through coupled energy- and water-based conservation, including the potential of certain types of renewable energy development to reduce water requirements for electricity generation, raise questions over conventional plans to rapidly increase investments in infrastructure. The purpose of this paper is to assess the region's energy-water nexus through analysis of data on water supply, electrical power generation, and energy consumption. Four cases are examined to illustrate the coupled nature of policies for energy and water: (1) rapidly growing urban centers; (2) water consumed in power generation and the "virtual water" implications of regional interstate power trade; (3) the irrigation-electrical power nexus in agriculture; and (4) coastal desalination and proposed trans-boundary transfer schemes. The paper concludes that conventional water management for cities has a large and rising energy footprint. Conversely, power generation that is often considered "non-consumptive" in this arid region is a major consumer of water. Similarly, there is a major opportunity for energy and water conservation in groundwater irrigation. Finally, desalination may hold promise, particularly for coastal communities, but current costs and institutional barriers suggest that transboundary transfer of desalinated water for general purposes, including environmental conservation and agriculture, has low feasibility.
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The global climate circles one hears the expression ‘water security’ used with ever increasing frequency, together with declarations about the urgency to increase water security in these times of unprecedented global change and future uncertainty. There is no agreement among experts on terminology, and some show little concern over its precise meaning, but it is generally conceived as the interaction between the physical stress on water resources, the risk of water-related hazards and the coping capacity in water management of the society concerned.
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The soft path seeks to improve the overall productivity of water use and deliver water services matched to the needs of end users, rather than seeking sources of new supply.
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This paper develops an analytical framework to investigate the relationship between water and armed conflict, and applies it to the 'Summer War' of 2006 between Israel and Lebanon (Hezbollah). The framework broadens and deepens existing classifications by assessing the impact of acts of war as indiscriminate or targeted, and evaluating them in terms of international norms and law, in particular International Humanitarian Law (IHL). In the case at hand, the relationship is characterised by extensive damage in Lebanon to drinking water infrastructure and resources. This is seen as a clear violation of the letter and the spirit of IHL, while the partial destruction of more than 50 public water towers compromises water rights and national development goals. The absence of pre-war environmental baselines makes it difficult to gauge the impact on water resources, suggesting a role for those with first-hand knowledge of the hostilities to develop a more effective response before, during, and after armed conflict.
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As the world's largest distributed store of fresh water, ground water plays a central part in sustaining ecosystems and enabling human adaptation to climate variability and change. The strategic importance of ground water for global water and food security will probably intensify under climate change as more frequent and intense climate extremes (droughts and floods) increase variability in precipitation, soil moisture and surface water. Here we critically review recent research assessing the impacts of climate on ground water through natural and human-induced processes as well as through groundwater-driven feedbacks on the climate system. Furthermore, we examine the possible opportunities and challenges of using and sustaining groundwater resources in climate adaptation strategies, and highlight the lack of groundwater observations, which, at present, limits our understanding of the dynamic relationship between ground water and climate.
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Achieving basic water security, both harnessing the productive potential of water and limiting its destructive impact, has always been a societal priority. To capture this duality, water security is defined here as the availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems and production, coupled with an acceptable level of water-related risks to people, environments and economies. This paper looks broadly at those countries that have achieved water security, the paths they chose and the costs they paid, and those countries that have not achieved water security and how this constrains economies and societies. It defines three typologies: countries that have harnessed hydrology, those hampered by hydrology and those that are hostage to hydrology. It finds that countries remaining hostage to hydrology are typically among the world's poorest. They face “difficult” hydrologies often characterized by high inter- and intra-annual rainfall and runoff variability, where the level of institutional and infrastructure investment needed is very high and the ability to invest is low. This paper seeks to capture the dynamics of achieving water security in a hypothetical water and growth “S-curve”, which illustrates how a minimum platform of investments in water institutions and infrastructure can produce a tipping point beyond which water makes an increasingly positive contribution to growth and how that tipping point will vary in different circumstances. As there are inevitable trade-offs, achieving water security is never without social and environmental costs; in some countries these are significant, often unforeseen and even unacceptable. This brief analysis suggests that the only historically demonstrated path to achieving water security at the national level has been through investment in an evolving balance of complementary institutions and infrastructure, but that lessons exist for following this basic path in more sustainable and balanced ways. Insights are provided for balancing and sequencing investments, adapting to changing values and priorities, and pushing down the social and environmental costs. The paper concludes that most water-insecure countries today face far greater challenges than those that achieved water security in the last century and are wealthy countries today. They face more difficult hydrologies and a greater understanding of and therefore greater responsibility for, the social and environment trade-offs inherent in water management. As the costs of poor countries not achieving water security, in terms of human suffering, sustained poverty, constrained growth and social unrest, would be very high, achieving water security is a challenge that must be recognized and must be met.
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Transboundary aquifers are ubiquitous and strategically important to global food and water security. Yet these shared resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. Focusing on the Disi aquifer, a key nonrenewable source of groundwater shared by Jordan and Saudi Arabia, this study develops a two-stage game that evaluates optimal transboundary strategies of common-pool resource exploitation under various assumptions. The analysis relies on estimates of agricultural water use from satellite imagery, which were obtained using three independent remote sensing approaches. Drawdown response to pumping is simulated using a 2-D regional aquifer model. Jordan and Saudi Arabia developed a buffer-zone strategy with a prescribed minimum distance between each country's pumping centers. We show that by limiting the marginal impact of pumping decisions on the other country's pumping costs, this strategy will likely avoid an impeding tragedy of the commons for at least 60 years. Our analysis underscores the role played by distance between wells and disparities in groundwater exploitation costs on common-pool overdraft. In effect, if pumping centers are distant enough, a shared aquifer no longer behaves as a common-pool resource and a tragedy of the commons can be avoided. The 2015 Disi aquifer pumping agreement between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which in practice relies on a joint technical commission to enforce exclusion zones, is the first agreement of this type between sovereign countries and has a promising potential to avoid conflicts or resolve potential transboundary groundwater disputes over comparable aquifer systems elsewhere.
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More than a billion people in the developing world lack safe drinking water — an amenity those in the developed world take for granted. Nearly three billion people live without access to adequate sanitation systems necessary for reducing exposure to water-related diseases. The failure of the international aid community, nations and local organizations to satisfy these basic human needs has led to substantial, unnecessary and preventable human suAering. This paper argues that access to a basic water requirement is a fundamental human right implicitly and explicitly supported by international law, declarations and State practice. Governments, international aid agencies, nongovernmental organizations and local communities should work to provide all humans with a basic water requirement and to guarantee that water as a human right. By acknowledging a human right to water and expressing the willingness to meet this right for those currently deprived of it, the water community would have a useful tool for addressing one of the most fundamental failures of 20th century development. # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
The crucial role of groundwater and the centrality of water governance in accommodating growing water demands sustainably are becoming well recognized. We review 10 case studies of groundwater governance-representing diverse global regions and local contexts-from the perspective of four well-established elements: (1) institutional setting; (2) availability and access to information and science; (3) robustness of civil society; and (4) economic and regulatory frameworks. For institutional setting, we find that governing is often a thankless task that paradoxically requires popularity; legislation does not always translate to implementation; conflict resolution is central to governance; and funding is critical for governance. In terms of information access, we see: a need for research for natural systems, social systems, and institutions; trust as an essential element in research; and that urbanized landscapes are critical components of groundwater governance. Looking at civil society robustness, we observe that equity is an essential element for governance; community-based governance requires intention; and leaders can play a powerful role in uniting stakeholders. As for frameworks, the cases suggest that economic incentives sometimes yield unintended results; "indirect" management should be used cautiously; and economic incentives' effectiveness depends on the system employed. Collectively, the lessons speak to the need for shared governance capacities on the part of governments at multiple levels and civil society actors.
Article
In recent years, different international institutions have repeatedly called for states to enter into agreements on the transboundary aquifers they share. Nevertheless, very few agreements have been established. This article examines the few ad hoc legal mechanisms that are in existence, and identifies some possible reasons for states’ reluctance. Finally, this article suggests that there is a need for the international community to stimulate a more cooperative approach to the management of this natural resource based on the preventive and precautionary principles.
Article
This article reviews and contrasts two approaches that water security researchers employ to advance understanding of the complexity of water-society policy challenges. A prevailing reductionist approach seeks to represent uncertainty through calculable risk, links national GDP tightly to hydro-climatological causes, and underplays diversity and politics in society. When adopted uncritically, this approach limits policy-makers to interventions that may reproduce inequalities, and that are too rigid to deal with future changes in society and climate. A second, more integrative, approach is found to address a range of uncertainties, explicitly recognise diversity in society and the environment, incorporate water resources that are less-easily controlled, and consider adaptive approaches to move beyond conventional supply-side prescriptions. The resultant policy recommendations are diverse, inclusive, and more likely to reach the marginalised in society, though they often encounter policy-uptake obstacles. The article concludes by defining a route towards more effective water security research and policy, which stresses analysis that matches the state of knowledge possessed, an expanded research agenda, and explicitly addresses inequities.
Article
Groundwater resources are increasingly being put under pressure owing to population growth, technological progress and economic development. Many countries, however, are unable to address groundwater depletion and pollution owing to weak legal and institutional frameworks. This applies both within national contexts and in respect of international or trans-boundary aquifers (or aquifer systems). The issue is being widely debated within international fora, numbers of countries are revising their water legislation in order to include more specific provisions for groundwater, and in parallel the UN International Law Commission (ILC) is studying transboundary groundwater resources with a view to a codification of the law in this regard. However, the key characteristics of groundwater are often misunderstood by non-specialists and, unless resource lawyers and groundwater specialists work much more closely together, there is likelihood of erroneous interpretations of the applicable legal regime. This paper aims to highlight basic concepts and pragmatic management needs, so as to provide a framework within which national and international legislation on groundwater management and protection should be shaped.
Article
The paper analyses geopolitical dimensions of the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non- Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UNWC) using quantitative data on transboundary flows and qualitative data on basin State location within a watercourse. The UNWC has had a long and difficult history. A tendency for downstream support for, and upstream ambivalence/opposition to, the UNWC is identified. It appears not widely recognized that adverse effects can be caused by any State on other States, regardless of their upstream or downstream location. Thus downstream States consider that their actions cannot harm upstream States, and upstream States consider that the UNWC provides them with greater obligations than downstream States. Clarification of the UNWC with the principle of reciprocal obligations on all States, both upstream and downstream, will remove any ambiguity, correct misperceptions, have clear policy implications for all States, promote UNWC engagement of upstream States, and contribute to long- Term global water security.
Article
Increasing populations and industrial and agricultural development worldwide are placing much greater demands on groundwater supplies. Many of these groundwater basins or aquifers underlie two or more countries and are, thus, international or transboundary. Unfortunately, international law and treaty practice are only at a beginning stage. With the goal of advancing international law and institutions on the matter, a multi-disciplinary group of specialists over an eight-year period have developed a draft international groundwater treaty. The draft provides mechanisms for the international aquifers in critical areas to be managed by mutual agreement rather than continuing to be subjected to unilateral taking. The treaty addresses contamination, depletion, drought and transboundary transfers as well as withdrawal and recharge issues. The fundamental goal is to achieve joint, optimum utilization and avoidance or resolution of disputes over shared groundwaters in a time of ever-increasing pressures upon this priceless resource. -from Authors
Article
International water law has made a major contribution to the great projects of national security and sustainable development by driving home the basic principle that common rivers and associated groundwaters should be shared by all riparian states. Water issues, historically and traditionally, have been addressed at the national or river basin level. In countries with 'bad hydrology' the challenge has been to capture more run-off or to exploit groundwater to meet evolving agricultural, energy, industrial and urban demands. Water shortage fears were carried to the arid Mediterranean 7 and then across the new world. However, this fear receded as our faith in science and technology to help us to adapt to harsh climates rose. The IPPC water report contains numerous examples of water stress across the world, which will only become more difficult in the future, especially when conflicts-of-use result in adverse impacts beyond national sovereign borders.
Article
International groundwater problems represent a distinct and important category of transboundary groundwater problems, but not all transboundary groundwaters are international. This paper considers transboundary groundwater problems in both intranational and international settings. First, difficulties attending the resolution of transboundary groundwater problems are identified, with intranational and international setting compared as general categories. Second, a set of intranational transboundary groundwater problems in the U.S. setting of southern California is compared with the analysis and recommendations that have emerged in the literature of recent decades on international transboundary groundwaters. The purpose of these comparisons of intranational with international transboundary groundwater problems is to more fully identify and understand what is, and is not, special about the challenges of resolving international groundwater problems. While international transboundary problems require the involvement (and in many instances the development) of different institutional arrangements, there are sound reasons to believe that in both international and intranational settings, the processes by which problem resolution is achieved may be more important than the content of the resolution.
Article
How does transboundary water cooperation begin at the initial stages, and how can third parties help to foster said cooperation? Many nations with transboundary waters do not cooperate or have ceased cooperation. Yet cooperation often prevails, resulting in 688 water-related treaties signed from 1820 to 2007. We address the following: by which practices can development partners best design and implement cooperative projects at the state level to enhance basin water security in the earliest stages? This article identifies strategies for initiating cooperation and lessons drawn from reviewing select cases. We compiled from the Oregon State University Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database all transboundary water resources projects over the last decade with multinational participation. We selected 10 case studies that enhance water security that fit the following filtering criteria: (1) Funding exclusively/primarily from outside sources, (2) Including nonofficial stakeholders in project design/implementation, (3) Absence of formal relations around water resources between or among the riparian nations before the project was discussed, (4) Project design possibly enhancing hydropolitical relations. Findings suggest that to enhance water security, project designs should respect participating riparians' autonomies, create basin-wide networks of scientists, allow for each partner to garner responsibility for project activities, and consult a diverse group of stakeholders.
Book
Water is a key component of critical ecosystems, a marketable commodity, a foundation of local communities and cultures, and a powerful means of social control. It has become a source of contentious politics and social controversy on a global scale, and the management of water conflicts is one of the biggest challenges in the effort to achieve effective global environmental governance. In Governing Water Ken Conca examines political struggles to create a global framework for the governance of water. Threats to the world's rivers, watersheds and critical freshwater ecosystems have resisted the establishment of effective global agreements through intergovernmental bargaining because the conditions for successful interstate cooperation—effective state authority, stable knowledge frameworks, and a territorialized understanding of nature—cannot be imposed upon water controversies. But while interstate water diplomacy has faltered, less formalized institutions--socially and politically embedded rules, roles, and practices--have emerged to help shape water governance locally and globally. Conca examines the politics of these institutions, presenting a framework for understanding global environmental governance based on key institutional presumptions about territoriality, authority, and knowledge. He maps four distinct processes of institution building: formal international regimes for shared rivers; international networking among water experts and professionals; social movements opposing the construction of large dams; and the struggle surrounding transnational water "marketization." These cases illustrate the potential for alternative institutional forms in situations where traditional interstate regimes are ineffective. ***Winner of the International Studies Association's Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for best book on international environmental affairs
Article
To understand transboundary groundwater governance in the South American Guarani Aquifer System, we surveyed global and regional experts about the region’s groundwater quantity and quality, ownership and rights, and regulation and administration. Respondents (1) perceived groundwater quality and withdrawal as under-regulated, and relevant information and data as inadequate; (2) suggested that contamination and overdrafting remain mostly incipient and localized along international borders; and (3) viewed groundwater as a shared resource administered by the state for the public, rather than as private property. Respondents suggested that while there is progress towards implementing a formal transboundary aquifer agreement, local-to-national-scale governance is important.
Book
More than a billion people in the developing world lack safe drinking water - an amenity those in the developed world take for granted. Nearly three billion people live without access to adequate sanitation systems necessary for reducing exposure to water-related diseases. The failure of the international aid community, nations and local organizations to satisfy these basic human needs has led to substantial, unnecessary and preventable human suffering. This paper argues that access to a basic water requirement is a fundamental human right implicitly and explicitly supported by international law, declarations and State practice. Governments, international aid agencies, nongovernmental organizations and local communities should work to provide all humans with a basic water requirement and to guarantee that water as a human right. By acknowledging a human right to water and expressing the willingness to meet this right for those currently deprived of it, the water community would have a useful tool for addressing one of the most fundamental failures of 20th century development.
Article
The article discusses the development of international groundwater law from the first codification efforts of modern water law until present and raises relevant issues for the way forward. It first traces international groundwater law from the 1960s until the end of the last century. It then reviews the growing attention groundwater has received during the last decade and third discusses the status quo. It places particular emphasis on the 2008 Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers adopted by the International Law Commission and the legal arrangements made for five of the 273 transboundary aquifers. It concludes with thoughts on the way forward in this important and understudied area of international law.
Article
Groundwater banking is the use of aquifers to store water to balance seasonal or longer-term variations in supply and demand. The large storage capacity provided by aquifers can be a valuable tool for conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater as well as other elements of integrated water resources management. Successful groundwater banking requires favorable hydrogeological conditions to efficiently recharge, store, and abstract large volumes of water. Additionally, groundwater banking is also highly dependent upon water management and operational policies to ensure that stored water is not abstracted by other users and that the water accounting system of the bank remains in balance. Accumulated credits to withdraw water should not exceed the capacity of an aquifer to safely produce the water at the design rate-of-return for the bank. System participants need to have confidence that credits issued for recharge can be safely recovered when needed. Groundwater banking systems can cause significant local adverse impacts to other aquifer users and sensitive environments during recovery periods. Groundwater modeling is required to develop a sustainable management system that accounts for temporal and spatial variations in the impacts of both recharge and abstraction activities.
Article
Aquifers and groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) are facing increasing pressure from water consumption, irrigation and climate change. These pressures modify groundwater levels and their temporal patterns and threaten vital ecosystem services such as arable land irrigation and ecosystem water requirements, especially during droughts. This review examines climate change effects on groundwater and dependent ecosystems. The mechanisms affecting natural variability in the global climate and the consequences of climate and land use changes due to anthropogenic influences are summarised based on studies from different hydrogeological strata and climate zones. The impacts on ecosystems are discussed based on current findings on factors influencing the biodiversity and functioning of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The influence of changes to groundwater on GDE biodiversity and future threats posed by climate change is reviewed, using information mainly from surface water studies and knowledge of aquifer and groundwater ecosystems. Several gaps in research are identified. Due to lack of understanding of several key processes, the uncertainty associated with management techniques such as numerical modelling is high. The possibilities and roles of new methodologies such as indicators and modelling methods are discussed in the context of integrated groundwater resources management. Examples are provided of management impacts on groundwater, with recommendations on sustainable management of groundwater.
Book
Illustrated with case studies explaining key concepts and providing practical examples, this book forms a comprehensive introduction to water management issues from a European perspective. Initially detailing the history of water management, the book then puts forward the major frameworks used for managing water, and provides a synoptic treatment of major water management issues in all 27 EU nations.
Article
The interactions between groundwater and surface water are complex. To understand these interactions in relation to climate, landform, geology, and biotic factors, a sound hydrogeoecological framework is needed. All these aspects are synthesized and exemplified in this overview. In addition, the mechanisms of interactions between groundwater and surface water (GW–SW) as they affect recharge–discharge processes are comprehensively outlined, and the ecological significance and the human impacts of such interactions are emphasized. Surface-water and groundwater ecosystems are viewed as linked components of a hydrologic continuum leading to related sustainability issues. This overview concludes with a discussion of research needs and challenges facing this evolving field. The biogeochemical processes within the upper few centimeters of sediments beneath nearly all surface-water bodies (hyporheic zone) have a profound effect on the chemistry of the water interchange, and here is where most of the recent research has been focusing. However, to advance conceptual and other modeling of GW–SW systems, a broader perspective of such interactions across and between surface-water bodies is needed, including multidimensional analyses, interface hydraulic characterization and spatial variability, site-to-region regionalization approaches, as well as cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Article
Groundwater is a critical component of the water supply for agriculture, urban areas, industry, and ecosystems, but managing it is a challenge because groundwater is difficult to map, quantify, and evaluate. Until recently, study and assessment of governance of this water resource has been largely neglected. A survey was developed to query state agency officials about the extent and scope of groundwater use, groundwater laws and regulations, and groundwater tools and strategies. Survey responses revealed key findings: states' legal frameworks for groundwater differ widely in recognizing the hydrologic connection between surface water and groundwater, the needs of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, and the protection of groundwater quality; states reported a range in capacity to enforce groundwater responsibilities; and states have also experienced substantial changes in groundwater governance in the past few decades. Overall, groundwater governance across the United States is fragmented. States nevertheless identified three common priorities for groundwater governance: water quality and contamination, conflicts between users, and declining groundwater levels. This survey represents an initial step in a broader, continuing effort to characterize groundwater governance practices in the United States.
Article
Many people think of transboundary water in terms of national security. However, water is not, nor is it likely to become, a cause of war. Rather, the need is for water security, which implies that water management must balance the goals of efficiency, equity, sustainability and implementability. This article suggests how a joint management structure for fresh water can be designed to promote ongoing resolution of issues, and do so in a way that de-nationalizes and de-securitizes transboundary water. Though designed with the Israeli–Palestinian case in mind, the approach is applicable wherever water divides rather than unites states or peoples.
Article
Societal use of freshwater, ecosystems’ dependence on water, and hydroclimatic processes interact dynamically. Changes in any of these subsystems can cause unpredictable feedback, resulting in water insecurity for humans and ecosystems. By drawing on resilience theory, we extend current productive–destructive framings of water security to better address societal–ecosystem–hydroclimatic (SEH) interactions, dynamics, and uncertainties that drive insecurity but also offer response opportunities. Strengthening water security in this sense requires strategies that (1) conceptually and practically interlink SEH subsystems; (2) recognize extreme conditions and thresholds; and (3) plan for water security via structured exchanges between researchers and decision makers in ways that account for institutions and governance frameworks. Through scrutiny of case evidence from waterscarce regions in western North America and the Central Andes, we assert that ensuring water security requires adaptive management (interactive planning that accounts for uncertainties, initiates responses, and iteratively assesses outcomes). Researchers and stakeholders from these regions are pursuing a multiyear series of workshops that promote science-based decision making while factoring in the political implications of water planning. This study briefly reviews an emerging water security initiative for the arid Americas that aims to enhance understanding of adaptive approaches to strengthen water security. Finally, by synthesizing efforts in the arid Americas, we offer insights for other water-insecure regions
Book
Irrigation has always been central to life and society in the plains of South Asia. According to Alfred Deakin, a three-time Australian prime minister and an irrigation enthusiast of early 20th century who toured India in 1890, the region had 12 million hectares (ha) of irrigated land compared with 3 million ha in the United States, 2 million ha in Egypt, 1.5 million ha in Italy and a few hundred thousand ha each in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), France, Spain, and Victoria (Australia) (The Age 1891). Although Egypt and Sri Lanka are better known as hydraulic civilizations, a century ago British India was the world’s irrigation champion. During the past 40 years, however, much of what was British India has witnessed more development in irrigation than in the preceding two centuries. Available statistics—better today than a hundred years ago—suggest that in 2002, the world had some 300 million ha under irrigation, and of these, more than 90 million ha was in today’s India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—lands that were the bulk of British India before 1947. This book is about the growing anarchy in South Asia’s irrigation economy. From antiquity until the 1960s, water mobilization and management for agriculture were predominantly the affair of village communities or the state. Today, however, the region’s agriculture has come to depend on explosive growth in irrigation from individually owned groundwater wells, and the current irrigation regime is wholly new. The resulting groundwater stress poses an environmental threat, but it also raises questions about the future of a vast agrarian system founded on a boom that seems destined to go bust. Large swaths of western and southern South Asia are withdrawing much more water from underground aquifers than man and nature can put back into them, and society has yet to find a way of restoring the balance. The hard-rock aquifers in inland peninsular India offer so little scope for large-scale groundwater use that hydrogeologists would consider intensive irrigation with groundwater suicidal in these regions; nevertheless, smallholder agriculture in these parts has come to depend heavily on groundwater wells. Along the coasts, pumping groundwater on a large scale tips the precarious balance between coastal aquifers and the sea, threatening saltwater intrusion; nevertheless, many coastal areas are witnessing a runaway groundwater boom. In the Indus basin in the northwest, even though vast alluvial aquifers are recharged by the network of canals from the Indus Basin Irrigation System, farmers pumping groundwater bring up the salts accumulated thousands of years ago, when most of the region was under the sea, and deposit them on the fields, progressively reducing the productivity of soils. When fields are drained, these salts enter the river system and help make the Indus a salt-laden drain by the time it arrives in Sind. Only in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin on the eastern front—where the alluvium is 600 meters deep and the annual runoff exceeds 1,400 km3(Shiklomanov 1993, 16)—did there seem an opportunity for large-scale groundwater irrigation without major collateral damage. In recent years, however, arsenic has shown up in groundwater. Drained wetlands and low-flowing rivers, falling water levels and rising pumping costs, deteriorating groundwater quality and new public health hazards—these are all consequences of South Asia’s anarchic groundwater development. Agricultural opportunism has been the driving force, and intelligent resource governance, a casualty. There are fervent calls to end the anarchy, but this is more easily said than done. This book explores why. It describes how irrigation has enhanced the welfare of the region’s poor even as the groundwater boom threatens to create “illfare” on a comparable scale. It considers irrigation’s changing nature, drivers, and impacts on South Asia’s still predominantly agrarian society. Above all, it asks how South Asia will manage this irrigation anarchy. The book begins by tracing the ascent of water-managed agriculture to situate irrigation today in its historical context. This prelude is essential for understanding the forces that drive South Asia’s irrigation economy, and for analyzing how public policies and institutions can bring order to this chaotic economy without undermining its stupendous benefits. When we compare the South Asian situation with the experience of other irrigating countries of the world, the historical background becomes critical to developing the central policy argument of the book: that to be effective, irrigation policies in South Asia must address the unique socioecological characteristics of the region and its people. Here is a brief tour of the book. Chapter 1 traces the evolution of irrigation in South Asia, and elsewhere in the world, with emphasis on the progression of events during the 19th and 20th centuries. Chapter 2 analyzes the unique dynamic of South Asia’s groundwater boom and explains why it must be understood as a phenomenon in itself rather than as part of the global socioecology of groundwater irrigation. Chapter 3 analyzes how gravity-flow irrigation is shrinking in South Asia and why it will continue to do so, absent any change in policy. Chapter 4 recounts the welfare that groundwater irrigation has created for South Asia’s agrarian poor; Chapter 5 deals with the disaster it threatens to create unless the region implements an effective strategy for managing this runaway groundwater irrigation economy. Chapter 5 also analyzes how the groundwater irrigation boom is silently reconfiguring river basins, upsetting old calculations and challenging received wisdom on river basin management. It suggests that establishing effective river basin management in South Asia may depend on understanding how farming communities respond to groundwater development in different aquifer conditions. Chapter 6 proposes a set of hypotheses to facilitate such an understanding and adduces evidence in their support. Chapter 7 presents a comparative analysis of other countries’ experience in managing the demand for groundwater and describes how nascent efforts at demand management in South Asia are driven to chart their own distinctive course. Chapter 8 concludes the book by arguing for a practical, short- to medium-term groundwater governance strategy for South Asia that is society-centric rather than state-centric. A note about geographical terms: Thus far I have used both “British India” and “South Asia” to refer to the vast landmass that is the stage of the drama described in this book. In reality, however, there is little groundwater irrigation in the middle Himalayas or in Bhutan and Burma (Myanmar), or in India’s northeastern states, except Assam. The “groundwater anarchy” is occurring in what were the princely state of Hyderabad, in a cluster of more than 200 small princely states of Kathiawar, in the Terai areas of Nepal, and in northern and eastern areas of Sri Lanka—none of which were part of British India. Throughout this book, then, I use “South Asia” to describe what is happening in the plains of Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, while taking an occasional look at the rapidly growing groundwater irrigation in northern Sri Lanka. And finally, a note about the approach and methodology. The book takes a broad sweep to describe and analyze broad trends in South Asian irrigation that may overlook local details. It proposes several new hypotheses and introduces evidence in their support but does not necessarily offer rigorous tests for them. Its approach is intuitive more than formal, its aim being to design a frame that can center the current reality of South Asia’s irrigation economy. The Streeten-Kuhn maxim (Kuhn 1962) underlines the approach taken: a model (or framework) is never defeated by facts, however damaging, but only by another model.
Article
This article analyzes the water security risks in the Orontes basin shared between Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. A complete description of the watershed's hydrography and hydrology is presented, and then, using a geographic database, an optimization method is used based on the nine factors of the UN Convention to allocate water equitably between the co-riparians. The optimization results show that Turkey and Lebanon could benefit from additional water if new negotiations are initiated. We conclude that the role of Geographic Information System (GIS) in transboundary basins is essential once a multilateral agreement occurs, whereby GIS will assist in data sharing and standardization to evaluate future policy alternatives.
Article
Water governance is critical to water security, and to the long-term sustainability of the Earth's freshwater systems. This review examines recent debates regarding the governance dimensions of water security, including adaptive governance, polycentric governance, social learning and multi-level governance. The analysis emphasizes the political and institutional dimensions of water governance, and explores the relevance of social power-an overlooked yet important aspect of the water security debate. In addition, the review explores the intersection and potential synergies between water governance perspectives and risk-based approaches to water security, and offers critiques and suggestions for further research questions and agendas.