Groundwater is the world's most important, best protected and most exploited freshwater resource. It is intensively used by humans. It is also the primary source for drinking water supply and irrigation, hence critical to the global water-food-energy security nexus, especially in dry regions. Groundwater is sensitively to shifts in climate, which changes the hydrological cycle and thus groundwater recharge. Additionally, global changes such as population growth or changes in land use affect groundwater resources, both in terms of quantity and quality. Due to these changes, regions with high water stress are expected to expand globally. Beside regions that have already a water deficit, new regions, such as catchments in Central Europe with continental climate and decreasing precipitation in summer periods are likely to be subjected to water stress. The Mediterranean basin is also expected to become a major hot spot of water stress in the future.
Therefore, groundwater resources, especially in dry regions, need to be managed wisely, protected and especially used sustainably. In this session we invite contributions, which identify new consequences of a changing environment for better future management, protection, and sustainable use of groundwater. This implies adapted modelling techniques, such as coupling climate models with hydrological models, coupling climate models with soil water- and groundwater models. This includes also studies into groundwater quantity and quality changes and recharge mechanisms. In addition, we invite contributions from appropriate field observational studies.
Furthermore, the session asks for contributions that address regional strategies for groundwater sustainability, in detail that (i) unravel the combined action of topography, geology, climate, land use and anthropogenic forcing in controlling regional groundwater availability, quality and sustainability; and (ii) propose new methods (e.g., coupled modelling approaches) for assessing and managing regional groundwater systems in diverse climatic, hydrologic, socio-economic and institutional settings, and accounting for uncertainty; (iii) present appropriate field observational studies; (iv) address uncertainty and limited data availability due to a frequently associated data scarcity issue in dry regions, methodologies, strategies.
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