The Negev desert

The Mediterranean region is already affected by water scarcity in many areas and is one of the “hotspots” of the expected climate change. The projected climatic changes will have a significant impact on the availability of food and water, energy consumption, human health, tourism, economics and ecosystem services in the region. In addition, increasing urbanization, industrialization and population growth will further increase soil erosion, reduce biodiversity and minimize water quality and water quality. The total population of the Mediterranean region is expected to increase from 309 million (2000) to over 651 million in 2030. When comparing possible future global rainfall changes to the rising water demand as a result of population growth, the results show that the effects of population growth will have a much greater impact on the availability of water resources than climate change. The interaction of external factors such as climate change, population growth, land use requires regional adaptation strategies to ensure a just and sustainable water availability as well as to reduce the decline of groundwater levels and the mobilization of deeper salinated groundwater.

The United Nations are therefore calling on its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to establish an optimized management of available water resources. The optimization of the management of water resources not only covers the needs themselves, but also an integrated use of water resources, taking into account social, economic, environmental and ecosystem services. Previous management and water management concepts have been mainly focused on the optimization of sustainable, resource-oriented utilization. However, planning in the sense of the SDG requires a holistic view, which focuses not only on the consumer but also on the common needs of people and ecosystems. In addition, sustainable water management requires the consideration of the regional development goals and thus the involvement of local decision-makers in the public administration as well as of the stakeholders.

Carbonated aquifers are very well suited for water supply due to the wide geographical distribution, generally large catchment areas, their discharge towards individual springs and thus their very effective water management potential. The supply of approximately 25% of the world’s population takes place via the extraction from carbonated aquifers. Despite their widespread use, however, the management potential of carbonated aquifers is limited due to their low storage capacity (high hydraulic conductivities, low storage coefficients). Due to their high dynamics, fast reaction times and a low storage capacity, however, carbonated aquifers require dedicated management concepts. Another characteristic of semi-arid areas is the extremely variable groundwater recharge and flow dynamics, which means that a sustainable groundwater management requires new, flexible, event-level “real-time” management concepts.