Knowledge, participation and transparency in groundwater management

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Water in sufficient amounts and quality is essential for meeting both human and ecological needs. Most water used by mankind is destined for agriculture, and demand is steadily growing. Under this pressure, water management faces significant environmental problems. In the case of groundwater, these difficulties are exacerbated by intensive, unregulated exploitation, and the spatial distribution of wells. Challenges to current water management therefore encompass multiple levels (environmental, technological, social, economic, and political), and their solution requires focus and a range of spatial and temporal scales to ensure integrated water resource management. Knowledge, participation and transparency are all crucial to help in conflict prevention and resolution. New challenges require new technologies that can help to resolve them. This paper analyses how the coordinated use of new technologies provides important results to support decision-making in planning and water management in irrigated agriculture. This case study is especially applicable to groundwater management in large areas where conventional planning, monitoring and control methods are extremely expensive and imprecise. The specific case of the Mancha Oriental Aquifer (SE Spain) is examined as it is an area where such conventional methods have proven to be inadequate.

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