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Towards sustainable groundwater use: Setting long-term goals, backcasting, and managing adaptively

Ground Water

By:
, , , , , , and
DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2011.00825.x

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Abstract

The sustainability of crucial earth resources, such as groundwater, is a critical issue. We consider groundwater sustainability a value-driven process of intra- and intergenerational equity that balances the environment, society, and economy. Synthesizing hydrogeological science and current sustainability concepts, we emphasize three sustainability approaches: setting multigenerational sustainability goals, backcasting, and managing adaptively. As most aquifer problems are long-term problems, we propose that multigenerational goals (50 to 100 years) for water quantity and quality that acknowledge the connections between groundwater, surface water, and ecosystems be set for many aquifers. The goals should be set by a watershed- or aquifer-based community in an inclusive and participatory manner. Policies for shorter time horizons should be developed by backcasting, and measures implemented through adaptive management to achieve the long-term goals. Two case histories illustrate the importance and complexity of a multigenerational perspective and adaptive management. These approaches could transform aquifer depletion and contamination to more sustainable groundwater use, providing groundwater for current and future generations while protecting ecological integrity and resilience. ?? 2011, The Author(s). Ground Water ?? 2011, National Ground Water Association.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Towards sustainable groundwater use: Setting long-term goals, backcasting, and managing adaptively
Series title:
Ground Water
DOI:
10.1111/j.1745-6584.2011.00825.x
Volume
50
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ground Water
First page:
19
Last page:
26
Number of Pages:
8