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Special Issue "Sustainability of Groundwater"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2010)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Peter Bayer

Institut für Umweltingenieurwissenschaften, HIF C 43, ETH-Zürich, Schafmattstr. 6, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 633 76 39
Interests: role of groundwater in life cycle assessment; virtual water concept; technico-economic-ecologic system analysis; stochastic optimization techniques & inverse modelling; hydrosystem modelling; geothermal energy use
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Johannes Barth (Website)

Applied Geology, GeoZentrum Nordbayern, Schlossgarten 5, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany
Interests: large-scale water balances; ground-surface water interaction; carbon cycle in water systems; stable isotope techniques; biogeochemistry of rivers
Guest Editor
Dr. Veith Becker (Website)

GeoZentrum Nordbayern, Schlossgarten 5, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany
Phone: +49 9131 8522 660
Fax: +49 9131 8529 294
Interests: stable isotopes in ground- and surfacewaters; transport modelling under saturated and unsaturated conditions; mobility of anorganic pollutants in soils; CO2 and its behaviour in subsurface waters
Guest Editor
Mr. Anssi Myrttinen

Angewandte Geologie, GeoZentrum Nordbayern, Schlossgarten 5, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany
Phone: +49 9131 8522 660
Fax: +49 9131 8529 294
Interests: stable isotope behaviour in groundwater; CO2 and its behaviour in subsurface waters; contaminant transport processes in groundwater

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial A Summary on the Special Issue “Sustainability of Groundwater”
Sustainability 2011, 3(10), 1792-1795; doi:10.3390/su3101792
Received: 5 October 2011 / Accepted: 7 October 2011 / Published: 10 October 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (44 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One of the most common denominators for almost any form of life is the existential need for water. This need has recently received much attention in the frame of sustainability discussions [1,2]. In addition, environmental sustainability and safe access to fresh water [...] Read more.
One of the most common denominators for almost any form of life is the existential need for water. This need has recently received much attention in the frame of sustainability discussions [1,2]. In addition, environmental sustainability and safe access to fresh water is one of the eight United Nation’s millennium development goals, and ultimately most conditions of life rely on water. Expected higher water demands for irrigation, industrial and household purposes outline the need for more investment in freshwater characterization and quantification. In addition, factors including climate change, large-scale reservoirs, re-channelling of streams, expansion of urban centres as well as chemical and microbial loading need to be taken into account. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Optimization of a Groundwater Monitoring Network for a Sustainable Development of the Maheshwaram Catchment, India
Sustainability 2011, 3(2), 396-409; doi:10.3390/su3020396
Received: 1 November 2010 / Revised: 20 January 2011 / Accepted: 28 January 2011 / Published: 15 February 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (457 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Groundwater is one of the most valuable resources for drinking water and irrigation in the Maheshwaram Catchment, Central India, where most of the local population depends on it for agricultural activities. An increasing demand for irrigation and the growing concern about potential [...] Read more.
Groundwater is one of the most valuable resources for drinking water and irrigation in the Maheshwaram Catchment, Central India, where most of the local population depends on it for agricultural activities. An increasing demand for irrigation and the growing concern about potential water contamination makes imperative the implementation of a systematic groundwater-quality monitoring program in the region. Nonetheless, limited funding and resources emphasize the need to achieve a representative but cost-effective sampling strategy. In this context, field observations were combined with a geostatistical analysis to define an optimized monitoring network able to provide sufficient and non-redundant information on key hydrochemical parameters. A factor analysis was used to evaluate the interrelationship among variables, and permitted to reduce the original dataset into a new configuration of monitoring points still able to capture the spatial variability in the groundwater quality of the basin. The approach is useful to maximize data collection and contributes to better manage the allocation of resources under budget constrains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Population Growth and Climate Variability on Sustainable Groundwater in Mali, West Africa
Sustainability 2011, 3(1), 21-34; doi:10.3390/su3010021
Received: 5 November 2010 / Revised: 16 December 2010 / Accepted: 17 December 2010 / Published: 23 December 2010
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1412 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Groundwater is increasingly relied on as a source of potable water in developing countries, but factors such as population growth, development, and climate variability, pose potential challenges for ongoing sustainable supply. The effect of these factors on the groundwater system was considered [...] Read more.
Groundwater is increasingly relied on as a source of potable water in developing countries, but factors such as population growth, development, and climate variability, pose potential challenges for ongoing sustainable supply. The effect of these factors on the groundwater system was considered in four scenarios using a numerical model to represent the Bani area of Mali, West Africa. By 2040, population growth, climate variability, and development as urbanization, agriculture, and industry creates scenarios in which groundwater extraction is an increasingly larger percentage of the groundwater system. Consumption from agriculture and industry increases extraction rates from less than 1 to 3.8% of mean annual precipitation, which will likely affect the groundwater system. For instance, concentrated pumping in local areas may result in water level declines. The results of this study contribute to an ongoing evaluation of sustainable groundwater resources in West Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)
Open AccessArticle Reconciling Groundwater Storage Depletion Due to Pumping with Sustainability
Sustainability 2010, 2(11), 3418-3435; doi:10.3390/su2113418
Received: 21 September 2010 / Revised: 17 October 2010 / Accepted: 21 October 2010 / Published: 1 November 2010
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Groundwater pumping causes depletion of groundwater storage. The rate of depletion incurred by any new well is gradually decreasing and eventually becomes zero in the long run, after induced recharge and reduction of natural discharge of groundwater combined (capture) have become large [...] Read more.
Groundwater pumping causes depletion of groundwater storage. The rate of depletion incurred by any new well is gradually decreasing and eventually becomes zero in the long run, after induced recharge and reduction of natural discharge of groundwater combined (capture) have become large enough to balance the pumping rate completely. If aquifer-wide aggregated pumping rates are comparatively large, then such a new dynamic equilibrium may not be reached and groundwater storage may become exhausted. Decisions to pump groundwater are motivated by people’s need for domestic water and by expected benefits of using water for a variety of activities. But how much finally is abstracted from an aquifer (or is considered to be an optimal aggregate abstraction rate) depends on a wide range of other factors as well. Among these, the constraint imposed by the groundwater balance (preventing aquifer exhaustion) has received ample attention in the professional literature. However, other constraints or considerations related to changes in groundwater level due to pumping are observed as well and in many cases they even may dominate the decisions on pumping. This paper reviews such constraints or considerations, examines how they are or may be incorporated in the decision-making process, and evaluates to what extent the resulting pumping rates and patterns create conditions that comply with principles of sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)
Open AccessArticle Optimal and Sustainable Groundwater Extraction
Sustainability 2010, 2(8), 2676-2685; doi:10.3390/su2082676
Received: 15 July 2010 / Revised: 11 August 2010 / Accepted: 19 August 2010 / Published: 20 August 2010
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (193 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With climate change exacerbating over-exploitation, groundwater scarcity looms as an increasingly critical issue worldwide. Minimizing the adverse effects of scarcity requires optimal as well as sustainable patterns of groundwater management. We review the many sustainable paths for groundwater extraction from a coastal [...] Read more.
With climate change exacerbating over-exploitation, groundwater scarcity looms as an increasingly critical issue worldwide. Minimizing the adverse effects of scarcity requires optimal as well as sustainable patterns of groundwater management. We review the many sustainable paths for groundwater extraction from a coastal aquifer and show how to find the particular sustainable path that is welfare maximizing. In some cases the optimal path converges to the maximum sustainable yield. For sufficiently convex extraction costs, the extraction path converges to an internal steady state above the level of maximum sustainable yield. We describe the challenges facing groundwater managers faced with multiple aquifers, the prospect of using recycled water, and the interdependence with watershed management. The integrated water management thus described results in less water scarcity and higher total welfare gains from groundwater use. The framework also can be applied to climate-change specifications about the frequency, duration, and intensity of precipitation by comparing before and after optimal management. For the case of South Oahu in Hawaii, the prospect of climate change increases the gains of integrated groundwater management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Sustainable Technologies and Social Costs for Eliminating Contamination of an Aquifer
Sustainability 2010, 2(7), 2219-2231; doi:10.3390/su2072219
Received: 30 May 2010 / Revised: 25 June 2010 / Accepted: 9 July 2010 / Published: 16 July 2010
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This case study deals with long-term contamination of the Leuna aquifer, which is intended to be restored using sustainable technologies financed by the state. The contamination can only be solved using active rather than passive intervention, because the aquifer has an extraordinarily [...] Read more.
This case study deals with long-term contamination of the Leuna aquifer, which is intended to be restored using sustainable technologies financed by the state. The contamination can only be solved using active rather than passive intervention, because the aquifer has an extraordinarily low natural attenuation capacity for the specific pollutants. Due to the longevity of the contamination source, the groundwater treatment technology that was chosen for the site must operate for a minimum of 20 years but probably much longer. Since the polluter-pay principle cannot be applied, the estimated dynamic primary remediation costs must be accepted as a political or social cost, which must be paid by current and future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)

Review

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Open AccessReview Issues of Sustainability of Coastal Groundwater Resources: Benin, West Africa
Sustainability 2010, 2(8), 2652-2675; doi:10.3390/su2082652
Received: 13 July 2010 / Revised: 3 August 2010 / Accepted: 19 August 2010 / Published: 20 August 2010
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (323 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The largest city in Benin, West Africa (Cotonou), is reliant upon groundwater for its public water supply. This groundwater is derived from the Godomey well field which is located approximately 5 Km north of the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and in [...] Read more.
The largest city in Benin, West Africa (Cotonou), is reliant upon groundwater for its public water supply. This groundwater is derived from the Godomey well field which is located approximately 5 Km north of the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and in close proximity to Lake Nokoue—a shallow lake containing water with elevated concentration of chloride and other elements. Historical data indicate increased chloride concentration in a number of wells nearest to the lake, with unknown contribution from groundwater encroachment from the coastal area. Hence, there is substantial interest in better characterizing this groundwater system for the purpose of determining appropriate management practices and degree of sustainability. Among the efforts attempted to date are a series of numerical models ranging from assessment of flow to a recent effort to include density-dependent transport from the lake. In addition, substantial field characterization has been pursued including assessment of shallow water chemistry along the region of the coastal lagoon and border of the lake, characterization of hydraulic response to pumpage in the aquifer system, estimation of the distribution of electrical resistivity with depth along the coastal lagoons, and installation of multi-level piezometers at seven locations in the lake. When integrated across methods, these numerical and field results indicate that the lake remains a primary concern in terms of a source of salinity in the aquifer. Further, the coastal region appears to be more complex than previously suggested and may represent a future source of salt-water encroachment as suggested by current presence of saline waters at relatively shallow depths along the coast. Finally, hydraulic testing suggests that both natural and pumping-based fluctuations in water levels are present in this system. Substantial additional characterization and modeling efforts may provide a significantly greater understanding of the behavior of this complex groundwater system and, thereby, an improved ability to manage the potential for negative impacts from salt-water and anthropogenic contaminants entering this sole source of fresh water for southern Benin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)

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