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Sustainability 2010, 2(8), 2676-2685; doi:10.3390/su2082676

Optimal and Sustainable Groundwater Extraction

1,*  and 2
1 Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 542, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA 2 University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, 2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 540, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 July 2010 / Revised: 11 August 2010 / Accepted: 19 August 2010 / Published: 20 August 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Groundwater)
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With climate change exacerbating over-exploitation, groundwater scarcity looms as an increasingly critical issue worldwide. Minimizing the adverse effects of scarcity requires optimal as well as sustainable patterns of groundwater management. We review the many sustainable paths for groundwater extraction from a coastal aquifer and show how to find the particular sustainable path that is welfare maximizing. In some cases the optimal path converges to the maximum sustainable yield. For sufficiently convex extraction costs, the extraction path converges to an internal steady state above the level of maximum sustainable yield. We describe the challenges facing groundwater managers faced with multiple aquifers, the prospect of using recycled water, and the interdependence with watershed management. The integrated water management thus described results in less water scarcity and higher total welfare gains from groundwater use. The framework also can be applied to climate-change specifications about the frequency, duration, and intensity of precipitation by comparing before and after optimal management. For the case of South Oahu in Hawaii, the prospect of climate change increases the gains of integrated groundwater management.
Keywords: sustainability science; groundwater economics; dynamic optimization sustainability science; groundwater economics; dynamic optimization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Roumasset, J.A.; Wada, C.A. Optimal and Sustainable Groundwater Extraction. Sustainability 2010, 2, 2676-2685.

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