Groundwater overexploitation: why is the red flag waved? Case study on the Kairouan plain aquifer (central Tunisia)

Groundwater overexploitation: why is the red flag waved? Case study on the Kairouan plain aquifer... In many parts of the world, groundwater users regularly face serious resource-depletion threat. At the same time, “groundwater overexploitation” is massively cited when discussing groundwater management problems. A kind of standard definition tends to relegate groundwater overexploitation only as a matter of inputs and outputs. However, a thorough state-of-the-art analysis shows that groundwater overexploitation is not only a matter of hydrogeology but also a qualification of exploitation based on political, social, technical, economic or environmental criteria. Thus, an aquifer with no threat to groundwater storage can rightly be considered as overexploited because of many other prejudicial aspects. So, why is groundwater overexploitation so frequently only associated with resource-depletion threat and so rarely related to other prejudicial aspects? In that case, what really lies behind the use of the overexploitation concept? The case of the Kairouan plain aquifer in central Tunisia was used to analyze the way that the overexploitation message emerges in a given context, how groundwater-use stakeholders (farmers, management agencies and scientists) each qualify the problem in their own way, and how they see themselves with regard to the concept of overexploitation. The analysis shows that focusing messages on overexploitation conceals the problems encountered by the various stakeholders: difficulties accessing water, problems for the authorities in controlling the territory and individual practices, and complications for scientists when qualifying hydrological situations. The solutions put forward to manage overexploitation are at odds with the problems that arise locally, triggering tensions and leading to misunderstandings between the parties involved. Hydrogeology Journal Springer Journals

Groundwater overexploitation: why is the red flag waved? Case study on the Kairouan plain aquifer (central Tunisia)

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Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Earth Sciences; Hydrogeology; Hydrology/Water Resources; Geology; Water Quality/Water Pollution; Geophysics/Geodesy; Waste Water Technology / Water Pollution Control / Water Management / Aquatic Pollution
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