Third Learning Workshop for GEF MENARID Project Managers “Groundwater economics”


1012 December 2013 – Agadir, Morocco (Hotel Palais des Roses)


Recurrent droughts, population growth, urbanization and uncontrolled groundwater exploitation for irrigation are the main driving forces leading to pressures on the hydrological system mainly in arid areas. Groundwater resources studies are approached to enhance insight to the system functions and to support integrated water resource management.

Groundwater economics and development should generally be understood as a diplomatic approach, in which all players should have the same voting rights contributing from the fields of politics, economy, society and environmentalism. Clearest distinction is found between technical and political issues. Groundwater development focuses more on getting access to the resource and first questions of supply, where technical exploration and groundwater viability are prominent aspects. Further control of groundwater exploitation as well as future planning is then the emphasis of groundwater management and economics.

Groundwater management should be based on with scientific research, so that science can support decisionmaking. Scientific results have to be translated for practical and political consultancy and even complex issues must be made understandable for decision makers, e.g. by the use of indicators. It is important to define the scale of application and decisionmaking before translating scientific insight for practice. Consequently, it should be kept congruent to the scale of investigation. International political frameworks and technical cooperation give important support, especially to investigate and manage transboundary resources. At the national scale the creation of political frameworks is necessary for providing conditions and data for research and for efficient resource planning and management. As an example, the national water plan of the Moroccan governments means a great support for applied research. Further examples of sustainable groundwater resource management in the Arab Region are provided including Decision Support Systems (DSS). Information on management issues focusing on the human impact on groundwater systems in dry environments.

Some of the main questions that the workshop aims to address and discuss:

  •   What is the contribution of groundwater to the economy of a country? What is the monetary value that groundwater produces in different sectors?

  •   How can the importance of groundwater be raised by assigning an economic value to the resource?

  •   How much is the economy depending on groundwater? If there was no more/less groundwater (especially in arid regions) – what would be the cost of alternative sources of water supply (desalination, waste water treatment and reuse, import of water?)

    Related questions:

    •   How much drainable groundwater is available in the aquifers?

    •   How the groundwater resources will develop under the pressure of global change?

    •   Which management or economic options can be derived?




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