February 25, 2005

2005: Highlight # 1

In this global review of groundwater use, Shah discusses its contribution, opportunities for livelihood enhancement and challenges for sustainable management under different socio-ecologies...

Groundwater and Human Development

Challenges and Opportunities in Livelihoods and Environment

Tushaar Shah

At less than 1000 km/year, world's annual use of groundwater is 1.5 percent of renewable water resource but contributes a lion's share of the global water-welfare. Sustaining the massive welfare gains groundwater development has created is a key water challenge today. In exploring this challenge, we have focused a good deal on conditions of resource occurrence but less so on resource use.

This paper offers a typology of 5 groundwater demand systems as groundwater socio-ecologies (GwSEs), each embodying a unique pattern of interactions between socio-economic and ecological variables, and each facing a distinct groundwater governance challenge.

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