Non-renewable groundwater resources: a guidebook on socially-sustainable management for water-policy makers

This publication intends to provide a contribution not only towards the development of an improved knowledge base in the field of hydrogeology, but also to the sustainable management of groundwater resources in different regions of the world. In particular it aims to provide decision-makers with the relevant scientific information.

UNESCO’s IHP has been dealing with the issue of non-renewable groundwater resources since 1996. Indeed, in 1996 during its 12th session, the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme, adopted Resolution XII-8 on the «Study of fossil groundwater in Sub-Saharan and Saharan Africa». In this Resolution, the IHP Intergovernmental Council, considering that aquifer systems are often the main source of fresh water in arid and semi-arid zones, recommended to improve knowledge about Fossil Groundwater in Sub-Saharan and Saharan Africa. Since then, UNESCO-IHP has undertaken several activities such as the International Conference on ‘Regional Aquifer Systems in Arid Zones – Managing non-renewable resources’ (Tripoli, 21–25 November 1999). The Conference marked a milestone in the review, discussion and analysis of the emerging concept of planned groundwater mining. One of the direct achievements of the Conference was the Tripoli Statement which recognized that in many arid countries the controlled and carefully regulated mining of non-renewable groundwater resources could provide an opportunity and a challenge for their social and economic development.

It is within this framework that UNESCO IHP in cooperation with the World Bank/GW-MATE organized a seminar on the «Socially-Sustainable Management of Non renewable groundwater resources» in Paris in September 2002. As a result of this meeting guidelines were formulated by a group of experts and the publication was initiated.

The case studies as well as the data and the indications provided in the chapters, refer mainly to situations existing in arid and semi-arid regions, although non-renewable groundwater resources are also found in humid and permafrost regions.


acrobat_icon Non-renewable groundwater resources: a guidebook on socially-sustainable management for water-policy makers