Groundwater is a vital water resource for large parts of the world. It is used for drinking, irrigation and industry. However, population growth and increased water demand have put groundwater under pressure.
Overuse of this resource leads to reduced groundwater levels, land subsidence and irreversible loss of aquifer capacity. In coastal settings, groundwater is particularly vulnerable, because saltwater can contaminate it in the aquifer and render it unusable.
Tropical coasts have experienced rapid population growth and industrialisation. Thus in these areas the pressure on groundwater has increased particularly strongly and will continue to increase in the foreseeable future.
Considering the importance of coastal groundwater resources, this project's main objective is to define an annual index presenting groundwater status along the global coasts, focusing on tropical regions.
The project will build on previous results that have established methods to estimate coastal groundwater fluxes based on globally available datasets. This is an important method for tropical areas, because the available local hydrogeological data are often scarce in these regions.
As all of the input data resolve annual developments, the index will represent an annual status and allow hindcasts and forecasts.
From a combination of satellite-derived spatially explicit environmental and administratively resolved societal datasets an index will be developed to address the coastal groundwater stress. As all of the input data resolve annual developments, the index will represent an annual status and allow hindcasts and forecasts.
Based on the outcomes of this project, areas with high need for improved groundwater management will be identified for more detailed research at the regional scale.
The developed index will provide a tool for decision making processes regarding focus areas of further coastal groundwater development priorisation.