Global-scale modeling and quantification of indicators for assessing transboundary aquifers : a contribution to the GEF Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP) ; research report

  • Within the framework of the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP), initiated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), we contributed to a comprehensive baseline assessment of transboundary aquifers (TBAs) by quantifying different groundwater indicators using the global water resources and water use model WaterGAP 2.2. All indicators were computed under current (2010) and projected conditions in 2030 and 2050 for 91 selected TBAs larger than 20,000 km2 and for each nation’s share of the TBAs (TBA-CU: country unit). TBA outlines were provided by the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC). The set of indicators comprises groundwater recharge, groundwater depletion, per-capita groundwater recharge, dependency on groundwater, population density, and groundwater development stress (groundwater withdrawals to groundwater recharge). Only the latter four indicators were projected to 2030 and 2050. Current-state indicators were quantified using the Watch Forcing Data climate dataset, while projections were based on five climate scenarios that were computed by five global climate models for the high-emissions scenario RCP 8.5. Water use projections were based on the Shared Socio-economic Pathway SSP2 developed within ISI-MIP. Furthermore, two scenarios of future irrigated areas were explored. For individual water use sectors, the fraction of groundwater abstraction was assumed to remain at the current level. According to our assessment, aquifers with the highest current groundwater depletion rates worldwide are not transboundary. Exceptions are the Neogene Aquifer System (Syria) with 53 mm/yr between 2000 and 2009 and the Indus River Plain aquifer (India) with 28 mm/yr. For current conditions, we identified 20 out of 258 TBA-CUs suffering from medium to very high groundwater development stress, which are located in the Middle East and North Africa region, in South Asia, China, and the USA. Considering projections, ensemble means of per-cent changes or percent point changes to current conditions were determined. Per-capita groundwater recharge is projected to decrease in 80-90% of all TBA-CUs until 2030/2050. Due to the strongly varying projections of the global climate models, we applied a worst-case scenario approach to define future hotspots of groundwater development stress, taking into account the strongest computed increase until either 2030 or 2050 among all scenarios and individual GCMs. Based on this approach, the number of TBA-CUs under at least medium groundwater development stress increases from 20 to 58, comprising all hotspots under current conditions. New hotspots are projected to develop mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, China, and Mexico.

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Author:Claudia Riedel, Petra Döll
Parent Title (English):Frankfurt Hydrology Paper ; 14
Series (Serial Number):Frankfurt Hydrology Paper (14)
Document Type:Working Paper
Year of Completion:2016
Year of first Publication:2016
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/02/29
Tag:climate change; global modeling; groundwater depletion; groundwater resources; transboundary aquifers
GND Keyword:Grundwasser; Wassermangel; Anthropogene Klimaänderung; Modellierung
Page Number:72
Last Page:63
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht