Special Issue "Socio-Hydrogeology in Groundwater Resources Assessments and Management"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021) | Viewed by 7640

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Viviana Re
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Interests: nitrate isotopes; nitrogen cycling; origin of N pollution; isotope hydrology; hydrogeology; environmental geochemistry; socio-hydrogeology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Theresa Frommen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRI THESys Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin
Interests: socio-hydrogeology, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary cooperation, science communication, education in hydrogeology, participatory groundwater management, hydrogeology of semiarid areas

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 1977, at the UN Water Conference in Argentina, the Mar del Plata Action Plan was adopted, working on all components of water management. It was the first point where at a global level the prevailing premises of engineered solutions which were omnipresent for decades were questioned and criticized. Fifteen years later, the Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development was defined and become the base for the concept of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). Embedded in these global frameworks, over the following decades, various approaches tackling the human-water system evolved, e.g. hydrosociology, hydro-social cycle, socio-hydrology. They were developed by natural scientists but also by social scientists. However, very often they do not consider groundwater or do not differentiate between surface- and groundwater. At the same time, the scientific literature on the integration of social research and groundwater management is growing rapidly, reflecting the increasing need for inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to groundwater issues. Nevertheless, much of this literature lacks a sound social theory as criticized by humanities researchers.

In 2015, socio-hydrogeology was developed as a new discipline targeting the systematic inclusion of the social dimension into hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical assessments. Overall, it aims to define new frameworks for assessing the reciprocity between groundwater and its consumers/polluters (i.e. “how human actions exert pressure on groundwater resources” and “how scarce and/or polluted groundwater influences human wellbeing.”)

With this Special Issue, we would like to foster the discussion for all interested in interdisciplinary research, thus presenting the challenges and opportunities within this emerging research field.

We encourage case studies, reviews, or theoretical approaches on the following topics:

  • Examples of socio-hydrogeological assessments
  • Participatory approaches in socio-hydrogeology, including, for example, stakeholder’s analysis, public engagement
  • Multidisciplinary frameworks to tackle groundwater issues
  • Challenges and opportunities raising from the integration of hydrogeology and social sciences and from inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation
  • Approaches including water’s social and political nature
  • Reciprocity between people and groundwater

Dr. Viviana Re
Dr. Theresa Frommen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com 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. Water 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 2200 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.

Keywords

  • Socio-hydrogeology
  • Groundwater
  • Society
  • Hydrogeology
  • Social sciences
  • Holistic approaches
  • Inter-and transdisciplinary approaches
  • Participatory approaches

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Article
How Central Water Management Impacts Local Livelihoods: An Ethnographic Case Study of Mining Water Extraction in Tarapacá, Chile
Water 2021, 13(24), 3542; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243542 - 10 Dec 2021
Viewed by 794
Abstract
Chile’s neoliberal central water management gives shape to a series of conflicts arising from diverse understandings and ways of life linked to water. This article addresses the question of who is responsible for the ecological costs regarding water use of mining activity in [...] Read more.
Chile’s neoliberal central water management gives shape to a series of conflicts arising from diverse understandings and ways of life linked to water. This article addresses the question of who is responsible for the ecological costs regarding water use of mining activity in the north of Chile. From the perspective of hydro-social territories, we analyze how the local population in Tarapacá is acting on unequal footing regarding environmental information and knowledge. Local and practical experiences are devalued against technical and scientific modeling, supported by legal and political definitions of “the environment” and “water”. Focusing on diverse local narratives, we show how the local population feels threatened by the environmental impacts of mining activity but struggles to find legitimate ways of articulating those anxieties to gain a sense of agency. We conclude that the local ecological consequences of extractivism in this region can only be understood in the context of the wider legal and economic framework regulating the appropriation of water as a resource and that long-term efforts in more participatory sociohydrological modeling might help to broaden the knowledge base for contested decision-making. Full article
Article
Exploring Risk Perception and Behaviours at the Intersection of Flood Events and Private Groundwater Supplies: A Qualitative Focus Group Study
Water 2021, 13(23), 3467; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13233467 - 06 Dec 2021
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Flooding events can inflict major disruption on society and cause significant infrastructural and environmental damage. However, the adverse health impacts of flooding, particularly as they pertain to private groundwater resources used for consumption, are frequently overlooked. Whilst the literature has previously found a [...] Read more.
Flooding events can inflict major disruption on society and cause significant infrastructural and environmental damage. However, the adverse health impacts of flooding, particularly as they pertain to private groundwater resources used for consumption, are frequently overlooked. Whilst the literature has previously found a lack of well stewardship among private well owners under ‘normal’ conditions, our understanding of private well owners’ perceptions of and preparedness for the risks posed by flooding to their domestic well-water supply is limited. This study advances the qualitative literature on this subject. It is amongst the first qualitative studies employing focus groups to examine private well owners, and the first in an Irish context. Six focus groups were conducted in four counties in Ireland, with the themes emerging from the focus groups refined, organised, and interpreted in the context of the Health Belief Model. Most focus group participants expressed awareness of the potential severity of well contamination following flooding, but many did not consider their local area “at risk” of it, notwithstanding the occurrence of previous local flooding events. All focus group participants shared the view that owners were primarily responsible for their own wells. However, their capacity to undertake appropriate actions was reduced by reliance on visual and olfactory evidence to assess water quality, and concerns regarding the financial cost and accessibility of water testing facilities. The phenomenon of misperception was also evident among participants. In light of the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events including flooding, these findings provide direction for future socio-hydrogeological interventions. Targeted communication strategies highlighting the risks posed by flooding, mitigation measures that promote well stewardship, and protective behaviours are required. The provision of access to free well water testing would also promote protective actions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Telecoupled Groundwaters: New Ways to Investigate Increasingly De-Localized Resources
Water 2021, 13(20), 2906; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202906 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Groundwater is essential for drinking water provision and food production while hosting unique biodiversity and delivering key ecosystem services. However, overexploitation and contamination are prevailing threats in many regions worldwide. Even integrated governance schemes like the European Union Water Framework Directive often fail [...] Read more.
Groundwater is essential for drinking water provision and food production while hosting unique biodiversity and delivering key ecosystem services. However, overexploitation and contamination are prevailing threats in many regions worldwide. Even integrated governance schemes like the European Union Water Framework Directive often fail to ensure good quality and quantity conditions of groundwater bodies. Contributing factors are knowledge gaps on groundwater characteristics, limited financial, staff and land resources, as well as policy incoherencies. In this paper, we go further and argue that current groundwater challenges cannot be understood when considering the local situation within hydrologic boundaries only. New long-distance processes are at stake—so called telecouplings—that transgress watershed and administrative boundaries and significantly influence the state of local groundwater bodies. We provide three literature-based examples of European groundwater systems that are impacted by telecouplings, and we show how research and solution perspectives may change when acknowledging the de-localization of groundwater(s). We elaborate on virtual water trade, remote water supply, and seasonal tourist flows that connect sending, receiving and spillover systems. These processes can induce groundwater depletion and contamination but may also help to conserve the resource. Our hypothesis calls for a new spatial paradigm to groundwater management and highlights the need for transdisciplinary research approaches as envisioned in socio-hydrogeology. Full article
Article
Laying the Groundwork for Raising Awareness on Water Related Issues with a Socio-Hydrogeological Approach: The Inle Lake Case Study (Southern Shan State, Myanmar)
Water 2021, 13(17), 2434; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172434 - 04 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
Translating scientific findings into concrete action for (ground)water protection should be fundamental component of any hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical assessment, thus ensuring that scientific outcomes have a positive impact in the real world. To this purpose, understanding the water-related issues and the perceived criticalities [...] Read more.
Translating scientific findings into concrete action for (ground)water protection should be fundamental component of any hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical assessment, thus ensuring that scientific outcomes have a positive impact in the real world. To this purpose, understanding the water-related issues and the perceived criticalities by the water users is an asset, especially for earth scientists who are often the first contact with local communities during in situ measurements. By presenting the results of a socio-hydrogeological assessment in the Inle Lake area, this paper aims at demonstrating the feasibility and added value of this approach. In conjunction with groundwater sampling, public engagement activities were conducted by administering semi-structured interviews at a household level in each monitoring site. Hydrogeochemical data show that groundwater is characterized by an elevated hardness and by the presence of trace metals in solution due to the low redox potential. The work provides suggestions on how to translate the hydrogeochemical information associated to (i) the impact of climate change on water supply and availability, and (ii) the presence of geogenic groundwater contamination (Fe, Mn, As) into accessible information for local communities and water users’ associations. Sharing knowledge and promoting capacity building would also help to assess the reasons for the discrepancy between self-reported perception of groundwater quality (e.g., hardness) and analytical results. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Pasts and Presents of Urban Socio-Hydrogeology: Groundwater Levels in Berlin, 1870–2020
Water 2021, 13(16), 2261; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162261 - 19 Aug 2021
Viewed by 816
Abstract
Although it is self-evident that today’s groundwater issues have a history that frames both problems and responses, these histories have received scant attention in the socio-hydrogeological literature to date. This paper aims to enrich the field of socio-hydrogeology with a novel, historical perspective [...] Read more.
Although it is self-evident that today’s groundwater issues have a history that frames both problems and responses, these histories have received scant attention in the socio-hydrogeological literature to date. This paper aims to enrich the field of socio-hydrogeology with a novel, historical perspective on groundwater management whilst simultaneously demonstrating the value to water history of engaging with groundwater. This is achieved by applying hydrogeological, socio-hydrogeological, and historical methods in an interdisciplinary and collaborative research process while analysing a case study of urban groundwater management over a 150-year period. In the German capital Berlin, local aquifers have always been central to its water supply and, being close to the surface, have made for intricate interactions between urban development and groundwater levels. The paper describes oscillations in groundwater levels across Berlin’s turbulent history and the meanings attached to them. It demonstrates the value to socio-hydrogeology of viewing the history of groundwater through a socio-material lens and to urban history of paying greater attention to subsurface water resources. The invisibility and inscrutability associated with groundwater should not discourage attention, but rather incite curiosity into this underexplored realm of the subterranean city, inspiring scholars and practitioners well beyond the confines of hydrogeology. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Socio-Institutional Drivers of Groundwater Contamination Hazards: The Case of On-Site Sanitation in the Bwaise Informal Settlement, Kampala, Uganda
Water 2021, 13(16), 2153; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162153 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 879
Abstract
Socio-institutional factors are poorly addressed in the risk assessment of groundwater contamination. This paper contributes to the development of a socio-institutional assessment framework based on a case study of contamination by on-site sanitation (OSS) in an informal settlement of Bwaise (Kampala, Uganda). We [...] Read more.
Socio-institutional factors are poorly addressed in the risk assessment of groundwater contamination. This paper contributes to the development of a socio-institutional assessment framework based on a case study of contamination by on-site sanitation (OSS) in an informal settlement of Bwaise (Kampala, Uganda). We conducted a snapshot survey of the recent extent of groundwater contamination by OSS using microbial and hydro-chemical indicators. Through transition arenas and key informant interviews, we investigated the socio-institutional drivers of the contamination. Overall, 14 out of the 17 sampled groundwater sources tested positive for Escherichia coli during the wet season. Nitrate concentrations at four sources exceeded the World Health Organization guideline value (50 mg/L), attributed to OSS. Despite the high contamination, the community highly valued groundwater as an alternative to the intermittent municipal water supply. We deduced six drivers of groundwater contamination, including land-use management, user attributes, governance, infrastructure management, groundwater valuation, and the operating environment (“LUGIVE”). Qualitative indicators for each of the drivers were also construed, and their interlinkages presented in a causal loop diagram, representing a socio-institutional assessment framework. The framework can help policymakers and the community to analyze various socio-institutional control levers to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination by OSS in informal settlements. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Polycentric Solutions for Groundwater Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Encouraging Institutional Artisanship in an Extended Ladder of Participation
Water 2021, 13(5), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050630 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1277
Abstract
The growth of groundwater irrigation poses opportunities and challenges, particularly in Africa where substantial potential exists for increased groundwater irrigation but has been constrained by limited access to energy, technology for pumps and drilling, markets, and other factors. Conventional groundwater governance concepts for [...] Read more.
The growth of groundwater irrigation poses opportunities and challenges, particularly in Africa where substantial potential exists for increased groundwater irrigation but has been constrained by limited access to energy, technology for pumps and drilling, markets, and other factors. Conventional groundwater governance concepts for state-led regulation or co-management are problematic for conditions where state capacity or political support for regulation to reconcile conflicting interests is limited. Experience in Africa and elsewhere does offer examples that may help recognize feasible patterns for collective action that can influence the equity, efficiency, and sustainability of groundwater development. An extended ladder of participation helps look beyond state-led water governance and co-management to a more diverse range of opportunities for supporting local autonomy and initiative to expand opportunities and solve problems in groundwater development. Collective action in groundwater governance can include well spacing; sharing of wells, pumps, and pipes; protecting domestic water sources; crop coordination; groundwater recharge; water imports; and aquifer management. Even where non-state organizations and collective action play primary roles in water governance, they may still be empowered by, receive advice from, or share information with government agencies and other actors. Polycentric groundwater governance can be supported by improving information, facilitating cooperation, endorsing standards, providing a legal framework for resolving conflicts and constituting governance agreements, and through polycentric social learning. Polycentric institutional artisanship by water users and their organizations can help find feasible solutions for improving groundwater governance. Full article
Back to TopTop