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Adaptive and Resilient Groundwater Management Practices

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2022) | Viewed by 258

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 10B, SE-11428 Stockholm, Sweden
2. KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Groningenhaven 7, 3433 PE Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
Interests: soil remediation; water resources management; contaminants in agricultural landscape

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Guest Editor
Discipline of Earth Science, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 382 355, India
Interests: hydrogeochemistry

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Guest Editor
School of Environmental Sciences, JNU, New Delhi 110067, India
Interests: climate change adaptation planning; backcasting; adaptive management

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Guest Editor Assistant
Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Barbarastr. 12, 49069 Osnabrück, Germany
Interests: climate change adaptation planning; backcasting; adaptive management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The challenge of developing global resilience towards safe drinking water involves the primary task of identifying contaminated drinking water sources, as well as other ongoing vulnerabilities, including WASH challenges and other exposures to constant environmental stresses that damage the well-being and health of the global population (Lake and Fenner 2019). The relationship between health and resilience comprises both local and global processes. This is at play both in the long and the short term, and embraces ecological, social and economic systems. Health can be seen as an important integrative index that reflects the status—and, in the long term, the sustainability—of our environment. Therefore, groundwater management must balance human demands for freshwater with the need for future water security and the requirements of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, amongst other economic, social and environmental issues .

Groundwater management is expected to become increasingly challenging as the quantity of water required to satisfy demands rises due to population growth and under changing climate conditions. This requires adaptive management (AM) such that future groundwater behavior can be estimated based on the monitoring and analysis of aquifers. AM is an approach that uses targeted monitoring and investigation to improve future management practices in a structured and iterative way through reassessment of the efficacy of management policies and system understanding. Although AM has received significant attention in groundwater management for its purported capability to counteract key uncertainties inherent in estimating future environmental responses to human activities, there is a clear disparity between AM theory and how AM is purportedly applied in groundwater management (Thomann, Werner et al. 2020). 

Adaptive and resilient groundwater management is reflected in its ability to ensure the provision of groundwater ecosystem services in the face of increasingly complex and accumulating economic, social, environmental and institutional shocks and stresses, through capacities of robustness, adaptability and transformability, which are rooted in the literature on adaptive cycles and adaptive governance (Holling 1996, Meuwissen, Feindt et al. 2019). This resilience perspective differs from much of the social–ecological resilience literature in its focus on output and in considering a socially determined flexibility in this output, namely, the set of desired functions, e.g., drinking water supply (Ge, Anten et al. 2016), but can be helpful to develop plans for building resilience for drinking water safety in risk-prone communities based on specific learning from various global interventions.

This Special Issue welcomes contributions addressing the following aspects, although this list is not exhaustive:

  • Groundwater management and governance (including the political and policy dimensions of groundwater security), and promoting groundwater resilience under climate change;
  • The role of water safety plans and WASH plans in the developing safety of a drinking water supply through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that encompasses all steps in supplying water, from catchment to consumer;
  • Cultural dichotomies and their impacts on developing resilience for valuing water, health and technology.
  1. Ge, L. et al. (2016). "Why we need resilience thinking to meet societal challenges in bio-based production systems." Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 23: 17-27.
  2. Holling, C. S., Meffe, G.K., (1996). "Command and control and the pathology of natural resource management." Conservation Biology 10: 328-337.
  3. Lake, P. and R. Fenner (2019). "The Influence of Underlying Stresses from Environmental Hazards on Resilience in Bangladesh: A System View." International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 10(4): 511-528.
  4. Meuwissen, M. P. M. et al. (2019). "A framework to assess the resilience of farming systems." Agricultural Systems 176: 102656.
  5. Thomann, J. A. et al. (2020). "Adaptive management in groundwater planning and development: A review of theory and applications." Journal of Hydrology 586: 124871.

Prof. Dr. Prosun Bhattacharya
Prof. Dr. Manish Kumar
Prof. Dr. AL. Ramanathan
Tom van der Voorn
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • COVID-19
  • resilience
  • groundwater management

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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