Water resources - assessment, management, and allocation - in (semi-)arid regions
Semi-arid regions are facing the challenge of managing water resources under conditions of climate change, extreme events (flash floods, drought), increasing scarcity, and concerns about water quality. Already, the availability of fresh water in sufficient quality and quantity is one of the major factors limiting socio-economic development. Especially, in terms of hydrology semi-arid regions are characterized by very complex hydro- and hydrogeological systems that frequently exhibit extreme behavior. The complexity of the water cycle contrasts strongly with the often poor data availability, which limits the number of analysis techniques and methods available to researchers.
Discussing frameworks that provide water assessment, management, and allocation solutions for water and data scarce regions is the focus of this session. Specifically, this session emphasizes on recent advances in science as well as on practical application, including:
- The development, analysis, and application of new data collection techniques, such as environmental sensor networks, satellite imagery and participatory data collection methods, but also human capacity development;
- New understanding of hydrological processes that are characteristic for semi-arid regions, such as large scale droughts and other extremes;
- Innovative water management strategies, such as the storage of reclaimed water or excess water from different sources in Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)
- Methodologies for assessing the impact and cost-effectiveness of selected response measures toward an optimal water allocation.
- Best water scarcity and droughts indicators for the estimation of desertification risks across a range of scales
- Specific targets regarding water efficiency, to allow for sustainable ecosystem services in the river basins.
- Programs of measures to deal with desertification impact on the management & planning of water resources and on the economic development.
- Studies on the social implications of different water allocation strategies.
Publication of contents in a special issue is foreseen. Contributions from previous years were published in the Special Issue “Advanced Tools for Integrated Water Resources Management” (Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN, Elsevier, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.051), and in the STOTEN Book Series “ Advances in Chemical Pollution, Environmental Management and Protection” (https://tinyurl.com/y8f9favj).