An initial framework for understanding the resilience of aquifers to groundwater pumping

África De La Hera-Portillo, Julio López-Gutiérrez, Beatriz Mayo, Elena López-Gunn, Hans Jørgen Henriksen, Ryle Nørskov Gejl, Pedro Zorrilla-Miras, Pedro Martínez-Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Groundwater stored in aquifers experiences a wide variety of natural, induced and/or anthropogenic disturbances. Among them, groundwater extraction is the main disturbance that affects most of the aquifers in the world. Aquifer’s resilience, understood as the potential of the aquifer to sustain disturbances on the long term and to guarantee essential qualities and functions, provides a key tool when assessing sustainable groundwater management alternatives. The aim of this work is to illustrate an aquifer resilience framework that can support groundwater sustainable management. A theoretical framework is based on the identification of the key variables that parameterize the quantitative and qualitative responses of the groundwater flow system to pumping. An example from the literature based in Denmark is provided as an illustration of the proposed framework. The results show that long-term high quality data are essential to make a step further in aquifers dynamic responses. The quantitative understanding of the aquifer’s behavior before, during and after groundwater extraction provides a valuable source of information in order to identify thresholds of change (tipping points, transitions or regime shifts) which could permit pro-active groundwater management decisions. Moreover, a deeper understanding on the aquifer’s dynamics provides useful information in order to avert threats that may put the sustainability of the system at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number519
Number of pages15
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Aquifer system
  • Groundwater flow
  • Resilience
  • Sustainability
  • Water security

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources

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