Table of Contents

Handbook on Water Security

Handbook on Water Security

Edited by Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Anik Bhaduri and Joyeeta Gupta

Water security has received increasing attention in the scientific and policy community in recent years. This Handbook covers the wide range of perspectives required to understand water security as a concept guiding water governance and management at different levels and in different regions. It reflects on past, present and future challenges to water security and strategies on how to overcome them. An invaluable resource for scientific scholars, it will also appeal policymakers and practitioners interested in a deeper understanding of this important concept.

Chapter 10: Groundwater and security

Kirstin I. Conti, Neno Kukurić and Joyeeta Gupta

Subjects: environment, environmental management, water, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


Humans abstract two hundred times more groundwater than oil, annually. Ironically, the role of groundwater in water management and supply is underappreciated, partially due to its invisibility. By conducting a literature survey and investigating groundwater information databases, this chapter answers the question: what are the physical and human dimensions of groundwater security at each geographic level and do they present a security issue at any or all of these levels? The chapter does not discuss the appropriateness of the security concept for groundwater challenges; rather it examines the physical and human dimension of groundwater security. It concludes that groundwater can present security challenges because of hydrogeological complexities; issues of distribution, quality, and overexploitation; and environmental dynamics linked with global change. These challenges amount to a security issue, the severity of which increases as geographic scope decreases; global challenges are emerging, while national and subnational challenges are severe in several cases.

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