The aim of this paper is to investigate the notion of collapse of agricultural groundwater economies using the adaptive-cycle analytical framework. This framework was applied to four case studies in southern Europe and North Africa to question and discuss the dynamics of agricultural groundwater economies. In two case studies (Saiss in Morocco and Clain basin in France), the imminent physical or socio-economic collapse was a major concern for stakeholders and the early signs of collapse led to re-organization of the groundwater economy. In the other two cases (Biskra in Algeria and Almeria in Spain), collapse was either not yet a concern or had been temporarily resolved through increased efficiency and access to additional water resources. This comparative analysis shows the importance of taking the early signs of collapse into account. These signs can be either related to resource depletion or to environmental and socio-economic impacts. Beyond these four case studies, the large number of groundwater economies under threat in (semi-)arid areas should present a warning regarding their possible collapse. Collapse can have severe and irreversible consequences in some cases, but it can also mean new opportunities and changes.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 13, 2017
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