Special Issue "Groundwater Resources Management: Reconciling Demand, High Quality Resources and Sustainability"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maurizio Polemio
Website
Guest Editor
Italian National Research Council-Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection (CNR-IRPI) Via Amendola 122/I, Bari 70126, Italy
Interests: groundwater management; seawater intrusion; groundwater monitoring
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Voudouris
Website
Guest Editor
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: Aquifer Vulnerability, Groundwater management, Water quality, Simulation of water flow, Water supply technologies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The prospect of a word population of 9 billion by 2050, growing urbanisation, intensive irrigated agriculture and climate change will add extra pressures on the water resources and the environment. The availability of high-quality freshwater is a decisive factor for socio-economic development. Water scarcity occurs in many countries—particularly in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa, etc.—that are confronted with a crucial combination of a severe lack of and increasing demand for high-quality water. World water resources seem abundant; however, only 0.7% of this total amount is usable water. Serious water pollution problems make 1/5 of the world’s population (approximately 1.1 billion people) at risk of water-related diseases. Competition for water made scarce by intensive irrigation is already a major source of conflict in arid and semiarid areas.

Groundwater is worldwide the main source of domestic supply and irrigation. As a result, there is a widespread established negative water balance, which is highly problematic in the case of coastal aquifer systems which are at risk of salinification due to seawater intrusion.

Pressures on groundwater arise from pollution sources; this is a serious problem due to the use of chemicals in agriculture as well as to the increasing inflows of domestic and industrial wastewater into water bodies that are hydraulically connected with aquifers. Intensified fertilization has led to considerable groundwater quality deterioration, as evidenced by the increased nitrate concentration.

On the other hand, the coastal environment is now recognized as a crucial arena for future progress towards sustainability around the world. Approximately 70% of the population on earth lives in coastal areas and the majority of these people depend on coastal aquifers for freshwater. Many islands face problems with water. The water demands of these islands have increased during the last decades due to rapid urbanization, accelerated tourism development, agricultural activities and a continuous increase in population since the 1970s. As a result, a negative water balance has been established in coastal aquifer systems, triggering sea water intrusion, which has negative consequences in the socioeconomic development of these areas. Many coastal aquifer systems are reported to be affected by quality deterioration due to seawater intrusion and irrational management.

In this framework, the challenge is reconciling demand satisfaction and durable quality and quality sustainability of resources. This Special Issue of Water accepts the challenge, calling for any contribution on the previous subjects, including any useful innovative scientific activities. A non-exhaustive list of desired contributions includes: tools, equipment, methods, modelling, and/or experiences on hydrogeological, geophysical, geochemical mapping and aquifer characterization, including an assessment of climate change impacts on groundwater resources in terms of groundwater resource quantity and quality and/or dependent ecosystem status; tools for efficient online visualization and dissemination; risk and vulnerability assessment methods; and monitoring experiences, especially if linked to management approaches. All contributions must share the aim of contributing to success in the challenge presented by water scarcity.

Dr. Maurizio Polemio
Prof. Konstantinos Voudouris
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 papers will be 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 2000 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

  • groundwater resource management
  • quantity degradation
  • quality degradation
  • pollution
  • coastal aquifer
  • climate change
  • modelling
  • monitoring
  • salinization
  • water resources

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Seawater Intrusion Proneness and Geophysical Investigations in the Metaponto Coastal Plain (Basilicata, Italy)
Water 2021, 13(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13010053 - 29 Dec 2020
Abstract
The Metaponto coastal plain extends about 40 km along the Ionian coast, between the Sinni and Bradano Rivers (southern Italy). During the 20th century, the increases in modern irrigation systems, land reclamation works, the overexploitation of wells, and agricultural and industrial activities have [...] Read more.
The Metaponto coastal plain extends about 40 km along the Ionian coast, between the Sinni and Bradano Rivers (southern Italy). During the 20th century, the increases in modern irrigation systems, land reclamation works, the overexploitation of wells, and agricultural and industrial activities have deeply modified land use and groundwater availability and quality along the plain. These modifications negatively impacted the natural systems in terms of groundwater and soil salinization, magnifying the risks due to seawater intrusion. In this study, we explored the proneness to seawater intrusion, testing a multidisciplinary approach based on hydrochemical and geophysical investigations. A significant portion of the coastal plain was selected for this purpose. A set of 49 groundwater samples was analyzed to define the chemical characteristics of the water and geoelectrical measurements were recorded along three long profiles. The geoelectrical surveys showed in detail the aquifer bottom pattern where it is deeply incised by paleovalleys, defining the main hydrostratigraphic features, as it is necessary to prevent seawater intrusion worsening. The hydrochemical data highlighted areas with higher seawater intrusion proneness. The acquired measurements show the high proneness to seawater intrusion, especially where the aquifer bottom is very deep below the sea level, also far from the coast, and the relevance of the detailed knowledge of the aquifer bottom in supporting any kind of management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Did the Lost Shangri-La Get Lost? The Tragedy of the Groundwater Commons in Lijiang, China
Water 2020, 12(11), 3131; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113131 - 08 Nov 2020
Abstract
Groundwater is critical to human survival, however, it has constantly been overexploited around the world. Despite hydrological causes and the effects of global climate change, groundwater governance has an essential role to play in causing or preventing such overexploitation. This paper presented a [...] Read more.
Groundwater is critical to human survival, however, it has constantly been overexploited around the world. Despite hydrological causes and the effects of global climate change, groundwater governance has an essential role to play in causing or preventing such overexploitation. This paper presented a case of groundwater governance in Lijiang, renowned for its natural beauty and exotic cultures, located in northwest Yunnan, China. Since being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in the 1990s, Lijiang has experienced dramatic tourism development, which eventually escalated its groundwater crisis. This paper applied the diagnostic approach of social-ecological systems to analyse the institutionalised governance process in the case of Lijiang and substantiated the effectiveness of the Social-Ecological Systems (SES) approach in explaining groundwater management issues. Two significant findings were drawn in the case of Lijiang. First, institutional arrangements may play an essential role in resource management, but their analysis is lacking between macro modelling of planetary boundaries of the Earth and micro surveys of individual and community behaviour. The SES framework offered a useful tool to fill this gap. Second, the designation of Lijiang’s Outstanding Universal Values as a world heritage site ironically damaged its local cultural intimacy, which nurtured generations of collective action for Naxi people, escalating the tragedy of its groundwater commons. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Vulnerability and Nitrate Contamination Assessment and Mapping Using DRASTIC and Geostatistical Analysis
Water 2020, 12(7), 2022; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072022 - 16 Jul 2020
Abstract
The Gaza Strip is in a chronic state of water shortage and the coastal aquifer as the only freshwater source is increasingly depleted and polluted, especially by nitrate. Assessment of groundwater vulnerability to pollution is essential for adequate protection and management. In this [...] Read more.
The Gaza Strip is in a chronic state of water shortage and the coastal aquifer as the only freshwater source is increasingly depleted and polluted, especially by nitrate. Assessment of groundwater vulnerability to pollution is essential for adequate protection and management. In this study, the assessment of the aquifer vulnerability to contamination is derived by applying the DRASTIC procedure, firstly with original default weights and ratings and, secondly, improved by estimating rating values by multiple linear regression of observed log-transformed nitrate concentration in groundwater, with DRASTIC factors extended to land-use. The results are very different because high and low vulnerability areas shift considerably. Subsequently, a geostatistical analysis of the spatial distribution of the nitrate concentration is performed, firstly by ordinary kriging interpolation of the observed nitrate concentration and secondly by regression kriging using DRASTIC factors and land-use as indicators of the spatial variation in nitrate occurrence. These maps differ because the map obtained by regression kriging interpolation shows much more details of environmental factors such as dunes, ridges, soil types and built-up areas that affect the presence of nitrate in groundwater. The results of this study can be used by the Palestinian authorities concerned with sustainable groundwater management in the Gaza Strip. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Delineation of Hydraulic Flow Regime Areas Based on the Statistical Analysis of Semicentennial Shallow Groundwater Table Time Series
Water 2020, 12(3), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030828 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Shallow groundwater acts as an important source of water for the ecosystem, agriculture, drinking water supply, etc.; it is, however, among those water resources most sensitive to climate change, and especially to aridification. In the present study, the delineation of regional recharge and [...] Read more.
Shallow groundwater acts as an important source of water for the ecosystem, agriculture, drinking water supply, etc.; it is, however, among those water resources most sensitive to climate change, and especially to aridification. In the present study, the delineation of regional recharge and discharge zones of the Danube–Tisza Interfluve (Hungary, 8000 km2) is presented via the combination of multivariate time series and geomathematical methods to explore the subregions most sensitive to dewatering. The shallow groundwater level time series of 190 wells, covering a semicentennial period (1961 to 2010), were grouped into three validated clusters representing characteristically different subregions. Then, the subregions’ means and individual shallow groundwater level time series were investigated for long-term trends and compared with local meteorological variability (precipitation, evapotranspiration, etc.) to determine their regime characteristics. As a result, shallow recharge and discharge zones, a gravity-driven flow system, and the discharge zone of a deeper, overpressured flow system could be discerned with distinctive long-term changes in water levels. The semicentennial trends in shallow groundwater levels were significant (p < 0.05) in the recharge (−0.042 m y−1) and in the overpressured discharge zone (0.009 m y−1), and insignificant in the rest of the area (−0.005 m yr−1). The present results concur with previous findings from the area but provide a statistically sound and reproducible delineation of the regime areas on a much finer scale than before. With the determination of the different climatic processes driving the semicentennial trends prevailing in the shallow groundwater, the high vulnerability of the recharge zone is underlined, while the outlined overpressured flow system seems to act independently from semicentennial precipitation trends. This study provides a more in-depth picture of the long-term changes in shallow groundwater and its drivers in of one of the most important agricultural areas in Hungary. It outlines, in a generally applicable way, the most vulnerable subareas for irrigation relaying on shallow groundwater extraction. In addition, the results can help adaptation-strategy decision makers to initiate a more effective and area-focused intervention in the case of the predicted negative trends for vulnerable recharge areas under various climate change scenarios. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Emerging Agricultural Practices on Groundwater Quality in Kahe Catchment, Tanzania
Water 2019, 11(11), 2263; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112263 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper assesses the impacts of farmers’ intensive use of agrochemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) on groundwater quality in the Kahe catchment. Samples were collected during the wet and dry seasons of the year 2018 and analyzed for the presence of agrochemicals in the [...] Read more.
This paper assesses the impacts of farmers’ intensive use of agrochemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) on groundwater quality in the Kahe catchment. Samples were collected during the wet and dry seasons of the year 2018 and analyzed for the presence of agrochemicals in the water. Groundwater chemistry was dominated by magnesium-sodium-bicarbonate (Mg-Na-HCO3). The cations levels were in the trend of Mg2+ >Na+ > Ca2+ > K+, whereas anions were HCO3 > Cl > SO42− for both seasons. The NO3 had an average value of about 18.40 ± 4.04 and 7.6 ± 1.7 mg/L in the wet and dry season, respectively. Elevated levels of nitrate, sulfate, phosphate, and ammonium were found in water samples collected near the large-scale sugarcane plantation in the catchment. For both seasons, Pb, Cd, Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu concentrations averaged approximately 0.08 ± 0.03, 0.11 ± 0.03, 0.16 ± 0.02, 0.11 ± 0.01, 0.46 ± 0.05, and 0.55 ± 0.02 mg/L, respectively. On the other hand, the concentrations were higher in shallow wells than in the deep boreholes. Pesticides’ residues were below the detection limit in all sampled groundwater. The findings from this study provide important information for intervention in groundwater quality management in Kahe Catchment, Tanzania. Full article
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