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's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

MetaMeta Research

's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
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The Indo-Gangetic aquifer is one of the world’s most important transboundary water resources, and the most heavily exploited aquifer in the world. To better understand the aquifer system, typologies have been characterized for the aquifer, which integrate existing datasets across the Indo-Gangetic catchment basin at a transboundary scale for the first time, and provide an alternative conceptualization of this aquifer system. Traditionally considered and mapped as a single homogenous aquifer of comparable aquifer properties and groundwater resource at a transboundary scale, the typologies illuminate significant spatial differences in recharge, permeability, storage, and groundwater chemistry across the aquifer system at this transboundary scale. These changes are shown to be systematic, concurrent with large-scale changes in sedimentology of the Pleistocene and Holocene alluvial aquifer, climate, and recent irrigation practices. Seven typologies of the aquifer are presented, each having a distinct set of challenges and opportunities for groundwater development and a different resilience to abstraction and climate change. The seven typologies are: (1) the piedmont margin, (2) the Upper Indus and Upper-Mid Ganges, (3) the Lower Ganges and Mid Brahmaputra, (4) the fluvially influenced deltaic area of the Bengal Basin, (5) the Middle Indus and Upper Ganges, (6) the Lower Indus, and (7) the marine-influenced deltaic areas. © 2017 The Author(s)

MacDonald A.M.,British Geological Survey | Bonsor H.C.,British Geological Survey | Ahmed K.M.,University of Dhaka | Burgess W.G.,University College London | And 16 more authors.
Nature Geoscience | Year: 2016

Groundwater abstraction from the transboundary Indo-Gangetic Basin comprises 25% of global groundwater withdrawals, sustaining agricultural productivity in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Recent interpretations of satellite gravity data indicate that current abstraction is unsustainable, yet these large-scale interpretations lack the spatio-temporal resolution required to govern groundwater effectively. Here we report new evidence from high-resolution in situ records of groundwater levels, abstraction and groundwater quality, which reveal that sustainable groundwater supplies are constrained more by extensive contamination than depletion. We estimate the volume of groundwater to 200 m depth to be >20 times the combined annual flow of the Indus, Brahmaputra and Ganges, and show the water table has been stable or rising across 70% of the aquifer between 2000 and 2012. Groundwater levels are falling in the remaining 30%, amounting to a net annual depletion of 8.0 ± 3.0 km3. Within 60% of the aquifer, access to potable groundwater is restricted by excessive salinity or arsenic. Recent groundwater depletion in northern India and Pakistan has occurred within a longer history of groundwater accumulation from extensive canal leakage. This basin-wide synthesis of in situ groundwater observations provides the spatial detail essential for policy development, and the historical context to help evaluate recent satellite gravity data. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.

Van Steenbergen F.,MetaMeta Research | Kumsa A.,CoCoon Groundwater in the Political Domain Team | Al-Awlaki N.,CoCoon Groundwater in the Political Domain Team
Water Alternatives | Year: 2015

This paper explores the role of politics in water management, in particular, comparing groundwater management in Yemen and Ethiopia. It tries to understand the precise meaning of the often-quoted term 'political will' in these different contexts and compares the autocratic and oligarchic system in Yemen with the dominant party 'developmental state' in Ethiopia. The links between these political systems and the institutional domain are described as well as the actual management of groundwater on the ground. Whereas the Ethiopian state is characterised by the use of hard power and soft ideational power, the system in Yemen relies at most on soft negotiating power. There is a strong link between the political system, the positioning of different parties and access to power, the role of central and local governments, the propensity to plan and vision, the effectiveness of government organisations, the extent of corruption, the influence of informal governance mechanisms, the scope for private initiative and the political interest in groundwater management and development in general. More important than political will per se is political capacity - the ability to implement and regulate.

Puertas D.G.-L.,MetaMeta Research | Woldearegay K.,Mekelle University | Mehta L.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Van Beusekom M.,MetaMeta Circular economics | And 2 more authors.
Waterlines | Year: 2014

Roads are generally perceived as infrastructure to deliver transport services, but they are more than that. They are major interventions in the hydrology of areas where they are constructed - concentrating runoff and altering subsurface flows. At present, water-related damage constitutes a major cost factor in road maintenance. Using ongoing research from Ethiopia, this article argues to reverse this and turn water from a foe into a friend and integrate water harvesting with road development. Optimized road designs are required - better planning of alignments, making use of road drainage, road surfaces, and river crossings, but also capturing freshly opened springs and systematically including developing storage and enhanced recharge facilities in road-building programmes. Equally important are inclusive planning processes that are sensitive to the multi-functionality of roads but also to the potentially uneven distribution of benefits and the diverse livelihood impacts. There is a need for closer integration of watershed and road-building programmes. With 5.5 million kilometres of roads in sub-Saharan Africa alone, and road building continuing to be one of the largest public investments, the potential of roads for water harvesting is great. © Practical Action Publishing, 2014.

Taher T.,Sana'a University | Bruns B.,Sana'a University | Bamaga O.,Sana'a University | Al-Weshali A.,Sana'a University | van Steenbergen F.,MetaMeta Research
Hydrogeology Journal | Year: 2012

Local groundwater management in Yemen and the means by which stakeholders can work together to improve water governance are discussed. In the last few decades the discourse on groundwater management in Yemen has increasingly been cast in terms of crisis, triggered by rapidly declining water tables around cities and in the main agricultural areas. However, in some places in Yemen, communities have responded by implementing local rules that have reduced conflict and provided more reliable and equitable access to water. This trend towards development of local groundwater governance is described, and could make a major contribution in realizing the goals of national water-sector policies and strategies. Twenty-four cases have been identified from different parts of the country and five cases are presented in detail. The article discusses how the process of local management could be nurtured and how it could contribute to rebalancing water use in several parts of Yemen. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Al-Weshali A.,Sana'a University | Bamaga O.,King Abdulaziz University | Borgia C.,MetaMeta Research | Van Steenbergen F.,MetaMeta Research | And 2 more authors.
Water Alternatives | Year: 2015

Groundwater is the main source of agricultural and municipal water and contributes 70% of total water use in Yemen. All aquifers are depleting at a very high rate owing to combined effects of a host of socioeconomic, institutional and climate-change factors. The government policy on diesel subsidy was largely believed to be one of the significant factors which stimulated large-scale pumping of water for irrigating water-intensive cash crops such as qat, fruits, and vegetables. A rapid field assessment was conducted between June and December 2011 in six different regions of the country to analyse the impacts of the severe diesel crisis that accompanied the political turmoil of 2011 on groundwater use and agriculture. The study highlighted winners and losers in the process of adapting to diesel shortage and high diesel prices. Farmers' responses differed according to their social status, financial resources, and farming systems. Poorly endowed households partially or completely abandoned agriculture. Others abandoned farming of irrigated cereals and fodder, but practised deficit irrigation of fruits and vegetables, thus halving the consumption of diesel. Crop yields dropped by 40-60% in all surveyed regions. The intra-governorate transport halt due to the sharp increase in transport cost caused prices at the farm gate to drop. Only those farmers who could absorb increases in diesel prices due to high return:cost ratios, higher drought tolerance, stable prices (qat), and access to alternative sources of water could cope with the diesel crisis.

Datturi S.,MetaMeta Research | Steenbergen F.V.,MetaMeta Research | Beusekom M.V.,MetaMeta Research | Kebede S.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology
Fluoride | Year: 2015

SUMMARY: In the Ethiopian Central Rift Valley (ECRV) an estimated 8 million people are exposed to high levels of naturally occurring fluoride. Consumption of drinking water, beverages, and food puts them at risk of dental and skeletal fluorosis. This paper describes the outcomes of a study comparing the efficacy of the two main mitigation measures, defluoridation and safe sourcing, in terms of sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and vulnerability. The study’s outcomes suggest that sourcing drinking water from safe sources is the preferred approach, because it reduces management burden and enables wider coverage. When safe sources are absent, community based bone char fluoride removal systems are proven to be a good alternative. Community involvement before the project is implemented plays a crucial role in the success of defluoridation. © 2015 The International Society for Fluoride Research Inc.

van Steenbergen F.,MetaMeta Research | Khan N.U.,Universal Complex | Gohar M.S.,MetaMeta Research
Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies | Year: 2015

Study region: Kuchlagh, Balochistan Province, Pakistan. Study focus: The depletion of groundwater is a specter presented for many parts of the world that rely on the unmanaged use of groundwater. This article describes how the alluvial aquifer in Kuchlagh was exhausted after three decades of intensive use from more than three hundred agricultural wells and how the water users gradually adapted to it. Intense and unsustainable resource use is often expected to lead to conflict or cooperation. However, in Kuchlagh overuse did not lead to conflict nor did it trigger a process of cooperation or the use of efficient irrigation methods or the adaptation of local groundwater recharge measures. The situation is best described as a 'socio-institutional void' in which at no point in time action is taken, whereas at the same time the resource is gradually destroyed. New hydrological insights for the region: In Kuchlagh the loss of opportunities in high value horticulture were cushioned by emerging urban employment, by developing agriculture in other parts of the Province or by simply 'chasing the water table deeper', i.e. investment in pumping from the hard rock layers underneath the alluvial aquifer. This suggests that if groundwater depletion occurs in a single isolated place it may not necessarily lead to human disaster or trigger a turn-around as the loss of resources may be compensated by other intervening opportunities. © 2014 The Authors.

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