Third World Centre for Water Management


Workshop on Sustainable Groundwater Management in Urban and Rural Areas

This workshop was held during the 2004 Stockholm Water Symposium. Sustainable groundwater management requires adequate assessments of resource characteristics. In many rural areas, groundwater tables are being lowered due to extensive pumping, which is often associated with heavily subsidised energy. In contrast, construction of reservoirs and inefficient canal irrigation has contributed to groundwater rise in many parts of the world.

In many urban areas, unsustainable uses of groundwater have given rise to extensive land subsidence, with heavy economic and social costs. Similarly, the linkages between urban stormwater management and groundwater conditions require timely drainage of precipitation. Reduced natural infiltration may otherwise result in flooding, and could contribute to water pollution because of incorrect solid wastes disposal.

Groundwater recharge rates vary significantly due to variations in climatic, geo-hydrological, demographic and land-use conditions. Determining true recharge rates is particularly difficult in water scarce regions. Degradation of groundwater quality causes growing concern. This may be caused by inadequate wastewater treatment, anthropogenic pollution, or by saltwater intrusion in coastal areas. Many of the above issues may have to be analysed for transboundary aquifers.

The workshop focused on challenges associated with the development and implementation of sustainable groundwater management. Social, economic and environmental implications of groundwater use were considered, as well as the regulatory and institutional dimensions.

Participants and themes of the workshop

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