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Ecological Use of Groundwater

Ecological Use of Groundwater

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Ecological Use of Groundwater

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  1. Ecological Use of Groundwater Christine Colvin Environmentek, CSIR, South Africa IAH

  2. Springs • Seeps • Baseflow to rivers and wetlands Stream

  3. Groundwater also supports.. • Submarine springs • Life underground • Evapotranspiration from trees

  4. Environmental Impacts • Pumping reduces discharge • Groundwater pathways for pollution

  5. Understanding Dependency • Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems • Vital characteristics • Quantity of water • Quality of water • Timing of water

  6. Aquifers moderate water supply to the environment… • Aquifer Storage • Biogeochemical processes • Aquifers sustain environmental services & livelihoods

  7. Competition with people…. Who can dig deepest & fastest? Balance people’s needs for water and the environment.

  8. Science to understand the full picture

  9. GW flushing Understand vital links… • Remote sensing • Isotopes • Nutrient and water modelling rain

  10. Understand consequences of actions.. • Optimal beneficial use • Impacts of abstractions • Stakeholder trade-offs • Informed decisions

  11. Urgent action required to.. • Recognise groundwater dependent ecosystems • Start understanding links • Monitor ecological health • Seek informed decisions • Allocate groundwater to the environment