Groundwater Management - The Search for Practical Approaches

Water Reports

Table of Contents

Cover photo:
Subsidized groundwater pumping in the Zhob Valley, Baluchistan/J.J. Burke/FAO

A joint publication of the
FAO Land and Water Development Division,
the International Atomic Energy Agency,
the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

and the

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

with contributions from the
Institute for Social and Environmental Transition
Boulder, Colorado
United States of America


the International Association of Hydrogeologists
Kenilworth, United Kingdom

Rome, 2003

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries

ISBN 92-5-104908-4

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Chief, Publishing Management Service, Information Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy or by e-mail to

© FAO 2003

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Groundwater degradation and the limits of hydrological information

Drawdown externalities and the sustainability issue
Groundwater extraction and migration of low-quality water
Rising water levels and waterlogging

Waterlogging induced by irrigation
Water-level rises under urban areas
Water-level changes in response to vegetation cover

Pollution externalities

Agricultural pollution
Urban groundwater pollution
Industrial pollutants

Implications of groundwater pollution

Chapter 3. Matching patterns and intensity of use and the resource base

The resource base
Patterns and intensity of groundwater use
Trends in groundwater research and development

Chapter 4. The socialization of groundwater issues

Impacts and responses
Social perspective on technical information
Coping strategies

Chapter 5. A basis for groundwater access and allocation

The limits of valuation methods
Reconciling competition for groundwater

Chapter 6. Limits to groundwater management

Implications for integrated management
Policy response and institutional adaptation
Gaps in management
Filling the gaps

Chapter 7. Conclusions and recommendations


Collaborative initiatives in groundwater management
Rethinking the approach to groundwater management
Basic research
Groundwater monitoring and data collection
Data dissemination and access
Integrated management in strategic locations
Laying the foundations for management in complex locations
Disseminating global lessons
Support for the World Water Assessment Programme


FAO Technical papers

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