Karst Aquifers in the Arid World of Africa and the Middle East: Sustainability or Humanity?


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May 2018


Karst aquifers are widely utilized water sources and in many countries represent the sole resource for potable water supply and irrigation of arable land. Tapping of karstic waters from springs and diverting them by gravity channels and then aqueducts has a long history and has been significant for the development of many karstic regions. Many cities were established in the vicinity of major springs. But karst water users in many places are facing problems caused mainly by unstable discharge regimes of dynamic karst aquifers or rapid contamination that takes place when pollutants are present in catchment areas. The situation is especially problematic in the regions with arid climates where, besides having limited aquifer recharge, there has been increased pressure on karst aquifers due to population growth, fast urbanization, or industrialization. There are many locations where aquifer systems are already over-exploited and where local, regional, or transboundary conflicts may further disturb water supply for humanitarian purposes. This chapter discusses some examples from northern and eastern Africa and the Middle East, presents possible technical solutions that could mitigate such a situation, and provides recommendations concerning research methodology and management solutions.


Arid Environment, Conflicts, Karst Aquifer, Recharge, Solutions

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The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, Vol. 68 (2018-05-27).