Contesting Hidden Waters
Conflict Resolution for Groundwater and Aquifers
To Be Published February 15th 2014 by Routledge – 288 pages
Series: Earthscan Water Text
While publications exist on conflict resolution for water resources, most focus almost exclusively on surface water with occasional mention of groundwater. No books focus exclusively on conflicts over groundwater resources despite the fact that most of the world’s freshwater supplies are underground, that over 300 transboundary aquifers have been mapped, and that over 50% of the world’s population relies on groundwater for drinking water. The author describes the principal differences between surface water and groundwater disputes. First, groundwater conflicts are more focused on water quality and land use as opposed to water quantity and allocation which typify surface water disputes. Secondly, groundwater is the “hidden” resource where unlike surface watersheds which are static, groundwater boundaries are value-laden, constantly changing during development and also include the spectrum of spirituality and mysticism, economics, and property rights. Thirdly, conflicts over groundwater include identity issues typically not encountered in surface water conflicts. Finally, conflicts over aquifer storage are shown to be different to conflicts over groundwater. This is highlighted by the United Nations General Assembly recently adopting a resolution on the “Law of Transboundary Aquifers” bringing groundwater and aquifers to the fore. The book covers both the theory and practice of conflict resolution, including detailed case studies from the Middle East and USA.
1. Introduction. 2. Groundwater Management versus Aquifer Governance. 3. The Silent Revolution and the Coming War of the Wells? 4. Conflictive Rationality and Aquifer Protection: The Urban-Rural Divide. 5. The Anti-trust Odyssey over Groundwater Allocation. 6. A Star is Born: Documentary Video Slows Groundwater Depletion. 7. Peak Water Meets Peak Oil: The Disi Aquifer in the Middle East. 8. Conclusions. Annex: Model Unitization Agreement for Groundwater.
Todd Jarvis is Interim Director, Institute for Water & Watersheds, Associate Director, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, USA.