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Open AccessArticle

Groundwater as a Source of Drinking Water in Southeast Asia and the Pacific: A Multi-Country Review of Current Reliance and Resource Concerns

Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney 2007, Australia
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Water 2019, 11(8), 1605; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081605
Received: 24 May 2019 / Revised: 22 July 2019 / Accepted: 31 July 2019 / Published: 2 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Present and Future of Drinking Water Supplies in Low-Income Regions)
Groundwater is widely acknowledged to be an important source of drinking water in low-income regions, and it, therefore, plays a critical role in the realization of the human right to water. However, the proportion of households using groundwater compared with other sources is rarely quantified, with national and global datasets more focused on facilities—rather than resources—used. This is a significant gap in knowledge, particularly in light of e orts to expand water services in line with the inclusive and integrated agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals. Understanding the prevalence of groundwater reliance for drinking is critical for those involved in water services planning and management, so they can better monitor and advocate for management of water resources that supports sustainable services for households. This paper contributes data that can be used to strengthen the integration of resource considerations within water service delivery and inform the work of development partners supporting this area. We approach this issue from two perspectives. Firstly, we collate data on the proportion of households using groundwater as their primary drinking water source for 10 Southeast Asian and Pacific nations, finding an average of 66% (range of 17–93% for individual countries) of households in urban areas and 60% (range of 22–95%) of households in rural areas rely on groundwater for drinking. Together, these constitute 79% of the total population across the case study countries. Secondly, we review current and emerging groundwater resource concerns within each country, using a systems thinking approach to assess how groundwater resource issues influence household water services. Findings support the case for governments and development agencies to strengthen engagement with groundwater resource management as foundational for achieving sustainable water services for all. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater; Southeast Asia; Pacific Island Countries; water services; human right to water; water resources; sustainability; Sustainable Development Goals groundwater; Southeast Asia; Pacific Island Countries; water services; human right to water; water resources; sustainability; Sustainable Development Goals
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Carrard, N.; Foster, T.; Willetts, J. Groundwater as a Source of Drinking Water in Southeast Asia and the Pacific: A Multi-Country Review of Current Reliance and Resource Concerns. Water 2019, 11, 1605.

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