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You are here : eLibrary : IAHR World Congress Proceedings : 32nd Congress - Venice (2007) : THEME B: Data Acquisition and Processing For Scientific Knowledge and Public Awareness. : Some aspects of transboundary groundwater resources management
Some aspects of transboundary groundwater resources management
Author : Anna Movsisyan , Armine Simonyan
Human society historically has positioned itself in the areas with locally sustainable water supplies. The population growth and increasing water demand are heavily stressing the water resources of the globe. At the same time pollution of the water bodies limits the water use so that the exploitable resources underlie a double stress, more consumption against limited potential for use. In the past, surface water constituted the main resource. Pollution of surface water and the growing water demand, however, require more and more groundwater to be extracted and supplied. In the beginning groundwater was taken only for drinking purposes, but as centuries passed, it was used for other activities, such as agriculture, industry, hydropower etc. Besides, very often groundwater is available also in places where there is no surface water. In the countries with arid and semiarid climate groundwater is widely used for irrigation. Generally, about one-third of the landmass is irrigated by groundwater. The role of high quality groundwater is particularly important for domestic use and drinking water supply. Thus, intensive groundwater exploitation by concentrated water well systems can result in a decrease in surface water discharge, land surface subsidence, and vegetation oppression due to groundwater withdrawal. Various human activities can result in significant changes in conditions of groundwater resource formation, causing its depletion and pollution. Groundwater pollution in most cases is a direct result of environmental pollution. Competition for visible transboundary surface waters is evident in all continents. However the hidden nature of transboundary groundwater and lack of legal frameworks leads to misunderstandings by many policy makers. Transboundary aquifer management is still in its infancy stage, since its evaluation is difficult and suffering from lack of institutional will and funding to collect the necessary information. The mismatch between political boundaries and natural river basins has become a focal point for difficulties of joint planning and management. Even in cases when international boundaries may follow such features as rivers, the aquifers underlying them may not reflect the true transfer of groundwater flows from one side to another. Aquifers ignore political borders, so that conflicts between countries with shared or transboundary aquifers are pre-programmed as far as there is no proper management strategy developed, adopted and followed. The geopolitical nature of water as a function of both geography and technology produces different and complex cultural, historical and ecological adaptations, as well as varying power to use resources. There are more than 3800 unilateral, bilateral or multilateral declarations or conventions on water: 286 are treaties with 61 referring to over 200 international basins. Such agreements, which serve to emphasize the importance of cooperation in many shared water settings, are expected to expand in the future. By its nature, the beneficial use of groundwater is more particularly subject to socioeconomic, institutional, legal, cultural, ethical and policy considerations than surface water.
File Size : 331,165 bytes
File Type : Adobe Acrobat Document
Chapter : IAHR World Congress Proceedings
Category : 32nd Congress - Venice (2007)
Article : THEME B: Data Acquisition and Processing For Scientific Knowledge and Public Awareness.
Date Published : 01/07/2007
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