Présentations Colloques

    Oral Presentation
    Session 7.05: The Challenges for Transboundary aquifer management
    Al-mooji Yusuf Lebanon
    Transboundary groundwater in Western Asia- A depleting resource that needs immediate attention
    The first inventory of transboundary aquifer systems in the Western Asia region was undertaken recently on the basis of rigorous scientific referencing and comprehensive bibliographies of the available information. The aim was to provide a starting point for future technical deliberations on shared aquifer systems among riparian countries. A total of 17 aquifer systems have been identified extending over an area of about 2.5 million km2 across the vast arid to semi arid desert (Arabian Peninsula) and the relatively more humid areas to the north (Mashrek) and northeast (Mesopotamia). The Peninsula has provided the depositional basin (thickness- ≤+7,500 m) for extensive sedimentary strata, which form large regional aquifer systems with very low renewability. The Mashrek and the Mesopotamia comprise highly fractured and faulted mountainous areas characterized by high precipitation falling on extremely well-exposed and highly karstified carbonate rocks and volcanic terrains. These fissured and complex aquifers receive an appreciable amount of recharge and supply springs that sustain important river systems. **The majority of aquifer systems in the region are overexploited to the extent that some are near depletion or completely unsuitable for use due to quality deterioration. Analysis of the hydrogeological data information indicates important gaps that hinder a thorough understanding of the aquifer dynamics. Also, the complete lack of any form of agreements for the development and management of the systems had a serious impact on their productivity. **This paper gives an overview of the existing technical and legal constraints for the management of transboundary aquifers in the region. It also describes bilateral and regional initiatives to alleviate these constraints and why they are difficult to implement. It concludes that the establishment of a regional database in parallel with trust building among riparian countries is required for enhancing cooperation in the future. These actions can only materialize through strong commitment from decision makers and good groundwater governance together with financial and technical assistance from donors and international organizations. ****************


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