The uncertainty associated with natural magnitudes and processes is conspicuous in water resources and groundwater evaluation. This uncertainty has an essential component and a part that can be reduced to some extent by increasing knowledge, improving monitoring coverage, continuous elaboration of data and accuracy and addressing the related economic and social aspects involved. Reducing uncertainty has a cost that may not be justified by the improvement that is obtainable, but that has to be known to make the right decisions. With this idea, this paper contributes general comments on the evaluation of groundwater resources in the semiarid Canary Islands and on some of the main sources of uncertainty, but a full treatment is not attempted, nor how to reduce it. Although the point of view is local, these comments may help to address similar situations on other islands where similar problems appear. A consequence of physical and hydrological uncertainty is that different hydrogeological and water resource studies and evaluations may yield different results. Understanding and coarsely evaluating uncertainty helps in reducing administrative instability, poor decisions that may harm groundwater property rights, the rise of complaints and the sub-optimal use of the scarce water resources available in semiarid areas. Transparency and honesty are needed, but especially a clear understanding of what numbers mean and the uncertainty around them, to act soundly and avoid conflicting and damaging rigid attitudes. However, the different situations could condition that what may be good in a place, may not always be the case in other places.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited