Groundwater Resources in Water Scarce Environments

-Athene Young Investigators Programme-

In many dry regions, surface water resources are often not available in sufficient quantities or unsteady in their temporal availability (Scanlon et al., 2006). Consequently, they have to rely on other water sources.

While unconventional resources such as desalinated seawater can be a valuable option for domestic supply in coastal areas, groundwater withdrawal is still the only relevant option to produce volumes that are large enough to feed the demand of water intensive sectors, above all irrigated agriculture. However, worldwide, 18 countries listed by the United Nations are already overexploiting their groundwater resources, i.e. more water is being abstracted from the groundwater body than is naturally replenished (FAO, 2020). Considering global changes such as economic and population growth, and the predicted expansion of dry areas due to climate changes, e.g. in the Circum-Mediterranean region, the pressure on groundwater resources will be even amplified (UNESCO, 2020).

Within this research group we aim to contribute to a better understanding of hydrological processes in water scarce environments. Such a better understanding helps to improve the assessment of the potential of groundwater resources and to develop solutions for a sustainable management of groundwater resources. Topics on which we research include, for example (i) natural groundwater recharge processes in arid environments, (ii) managed aquifer recharge, and (iii) non-stationary fossil aquifers systems.

Contact:

Dr. Stephan Schulz

Links:

Water – a resource ­essential for life

Arbeitskreis “Hydrogeologie arider Gebiete” der FH-DGGV