Groundwater use: Equilibrium between social benefits and potential environmental costs

Hydrogeology Journal
By: , and 



In many countries groundwater resources are under-appreciated and, therefore, underutilizied; whereas, in some areas they are inappropriately exploited and, therefore, over-utilized. “Over utilization” can lead to depletion in quantity or a degradation in quality or both. Obstacles to effective management include: (1) lack of knowledge of basic principles of groundwater science among water planners, (2) in many, if not in most countries, ownership of groundwater is in the private domain with the result that codependence is unrecognized, and (3) a misunderstanding by water planners of the concepts of “overexploitation%rdquo; and conjunctive use. The economic, social, and hydrologic constraints and procedures for management for sustainable development of groundwater are significantly different from those for surface water because these differences result from such things as (1) groundwater development is not dependent on large scale collective projects (unlike the utilization of surface water that requires engineering structures for diverting, regulating and transporting water), (2) the activities of many different groups can affect the quality of water, and (3) users of groundwater often are not aware of their co-dependence on the groundwater heritage in which each participates. Hydrogeologists should try to identify those governmental policies that have a detrimental environmental effect, promote those policies that are beneficial, and demonstrate the need for a policy in matters where a policy is lacking.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Groundwater use: Equilibrium between social benefits and potential environmental costs
Series title Hydrogeology Journal
DOI 10.1007/PL00010965
Volume 1
Issue 2
Year Published 1992
Language English
Publisher Springer
Description 12 p.
First page 3
Last page 14
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