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« New Mexico's Race to Pump Nonrenewable Ground Water Heats Up | Main | On World Water Day Waterbloggers Go Transboundary »

Sunday, 22 March 2009


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Most surface water projects also *sell* recreation and fish and wildlife habitat to seal the deal. Groundwater, the orphan, cannot sell much in the way of recreation, except *hot springs*, and those go away soon after the wells are drilled!


Thanks, Daniel.

I was remiss in mentioning that surface water supply projects often serve other purposes that ground water projects can't: power generation comes to mind, as do flood control, navigation, and recreation (in the developed world, at least).

We won't get into a discussion about the environmental impacts of such projects, or losses due to evaporation.

Daniel Collins

Another just occurred to me: the historical divisions among different types of water resource expert: civil engineer, ag engineer, soil scientist, geologist, meteorologist, physical geographer, planner, etc, etc.

Daniel Collins

I'd think another plays a role too: the slowness of response compared with surface waters.

I'm getting to SW-GW interactions now, so I will be giving increasing time to solutions to these perception and knowledge problems.


Hi, Daniel.

Thanks for commenting, and thanks for doing the 'synchroblogging' for WWD.

Excellent question. Some answers:

1) Out of sight, out of mind.
2) Hard/expensive to get data and monitor.
3) Many water managers and others in the water field don't understand ground water/aren't trained in ground water hydrology.
4) There is no 'big money' in ground water projects, so donors and the private sector aren't that interested.
5) You can show off a huge dam, canals, etc., and point to them as signs of 'progress'. Governments and donors love that. You drill 200 wells - not very impressive!
6) Ground water is the ultimate 'people's resource' - the so-called 'silent revolution' of Ramon Llamas. You drill a well at the point-of-use and don't need a gazillion-dollar dam [see (4) and (5)].
7) Many water projects are conceived/designed/built by engineers, who generally don't have much training in ground water.

I think the 'money angle' is a major reason. No big bucks.

I'll rest for now.

Daniel Collins

What do you think are the key factors holding back GW from being given the level of attention it deserves? Lack of data, lack of visuals (i.e. that TB GW map), sociopolitics, ...? Conjunctive use is not really being considered in my neck of the woods yet, and I think two of the above reasons are playing a part.

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