The Negev desert

The Mediterranean region is a climate change “hotspot”. Many areas already suffer from water scarcity. Increasing urbanization, industrialization and population growth will further decrease the amount and quality of availabel water ressources. The total population of the Mediterranean region is expected to increase from 472 million in 2010 to 572 million in 2030. The interaction of external factors such as population growth, climate change, and land use requires regional adaptation strategies to ensure a just and sustainable water use.

In their 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations call for an optimized management of available water resources (SDG 6). Previous water management concepts have mainly focused on human water needs. However, planning in the sense of the SDGs requires a more holistic view, which provides water for people as well as ecosystems. In addition, sustainable water management requires the consideration of regional development goals and thus the involvement of local decision-makers and stakeholders.

Karst aquifers are well-suited for groundwater extraction due to their wide geographical distribution, large catchment areas, and discharge towards individual springs. They supply 10% of the world’s population with drinking water. Despite their wide-spread use, the management potential of these aquifers is limited because of their low storage capacities. Due to high hydraulic conductivities and fast response times, karst aquifers require new, more flexible management concepts.