Managed aquifer recharge: Opportunities and barriers
Lidth de Jeude, E.J. van
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This multi-disciplinary study analyzed the barriers and opportunities of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) in the world. Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is a collective name for techniques that infiltrate and store water in an aquifer. Increasing water scarcity and high net groundwater abstraction rates are challenging issues now and in the future. Currently two-third of the global population experiences water scarcity at least once a month. In a world with increasing water issues, adequate water management becomes more vital. Groundwater users and ecosystems suffer from the consequences of inadequate groundwater management. Global population growth will increase the pressure on groundwater sources and in combination with climate change, water supply and demand will show increasing fluctuations. MAR could bring solutions to regions with water scarcity and groundwater management issues worldwide. The focus of this study is on identifying hydrogeological, climate, socioeconomic and institutional boundary conditions for MAR. These conditions are compared with a database of existing MAR projects. This specific comparison leads to new data in this area of research. It creates new insights of the barriers and opportunities for MAR worldwide. The study shows an inventory of the 14 available MAR techniques and the (boundary) conditions for each technique. Other products are a set of 12 different hydrogeological boundary conditions, 23 relevant cost factors and 17 objectives for using MAR. There are 22 opportunities and 22 barriers to the implementation of MAR, for hydrogeological, climate, socioeconomic and institutional settings. The greatest opportunity can be found in arid and semi-arid regions because 1) they have the highest need for MAR and because 2) current practices are more seen in humid regions. The scientific insights provided by this study can add clarity to science, as much of the knowledge on MAR was more fragmented up till now. In addition, the study clearly shows that there are still several knowledge gaps in the field of MAR and that further MAR potential studies are recommended. This study could help education programs on water storage and retention worldwide, in showing the importance of the adequate management of aquifers, including the barriers that might have to be overcome. This study clarifies the importance of adequate implementation of MAR techniques worldwide. Found insights can form a new direction in groundwater policy worldwide.