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Mining of Transboundary Aquifers in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula Arthur Ryzak University of Texas at...

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  • Slide 1
  • Mining of Transboundary Aquifers in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula Arthur Ryzak University of Texas at Austin Spring-2012
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  • Outline Objective Describe the current status of groundwater mining in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, as well as the measures being taken to minimize future conflict and harm. Topics Transboundary Aquifer Systems Regional Challenges Sustainable Solutions International Cooperation Conclusions Readings Questions for Discussion Source: flickriver.com
  • Slide 3
  • Transboundary Aquifer Systems Aquifer - A permeable water bearing geological formation underlain by a less permeable layer and the water contained in the saturated zone of the formation Transboundary aquifer or transboundary aquifer system means, respectively, an aquifer or aquifer system, parts of which are situated in different States Groundwater Mining - Extraction of groundwater from an aquifer having predominantly non-renewable resources with depletion of aquifer reserves Source: UN (2009)
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  • Transboundary Aquifer Systems Source: UNESCO-IHP (2006) National Boundary
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  • Transboundary Aquifer Systems Source: UNESCO-IHP (2009)
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  • Transboundary Aquifer Systems Source: MAW (1984) RelativeWater Withdrawal Yemen = 176 m^3/c/yr S.A. = 979 m^3/c/yr
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  • Regional Challenges Source: gapminder.org (2012) RelativeWater Withdrawal Yemen = 176 m^3/c/yr S.A. = 979 m^3/c/yr
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  • Regional Challenges Very Little Groundwater Recharge
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  • Regional Challenges Very Little Precipitation
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  • Regional Challenges Very Little Overland Flow
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  • Regional Challenges 50 Miles Southeast of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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  • Regional Challenges Water Usage and Demand in the Arabian Peninsula
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  • Regional Challenges Groundwater mining is unsustainable Renewable supply does not meet current consumption demands Population doubling time = 20yrs Groundwater mining has been considered necessary Agricultural self-sufficiency and food security Renewable sources inadequate for agriculture Sanaa Water Crisis Potential of 2 million water refugees
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  • Sustainable Solutions Reduce consumption Agricultural policies and practices Municipal management Increase supply Desalination and wastewater reuse Develop renewable resources Piping projects Decrease effected population Relocation to areas with better resources All these measures benefit from cooperation between states Source: Saudiembassy.net
  • Slide 15
  • International Cooperation Stakeholder Meetings Arab Water Council United Nations UN-ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission of Wester Asia) UN-ISARM (International Shared Aquifer Resources Management Programme) UN-IGRAC (International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre) Information Sharing, (e.g. Stakeholder Reports, Global Groundwater Information System, Global Groundwater Monitoring Network, whymap.org, Aquastat, GRACE, World Water Online) The Law of Transboundary Aquifer Systems Articles Drafted - UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/63/124 (2008) Agreements Developed, (Genovese aquifer, Guarani Aquifer, Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, North Western Sahara Aquifer System)
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  • International Cooperation The Law of Transboundary Aquifer Systems Draft Articles - UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/63/124 (2008) Each state has sovereignty over its portion of the aquifer system, according to the articles and international law Equitable and reasonable utilization Obligation not to cause significant harm Regular exchange of data and information Aquifer states encouraged to enter into bilateral or regional agreements amongst themselves Protection, preservation, and management Technical cooperation with developing states Protected by the rules and principles of international law during times of armed conflict No provision on dispute resolution (but see Guarani Agreement) To be included as agenda item in 2012, with consideration of final form of the articles A/RES/66/104 (2011)
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  • Conclusions Stakeholders recognizing the need for cooperation Major obstacles to adopting and implementing regional and basin-level agreements: Direct result of the situation at the national level where in most cases the national institutions in charge of water resources lack a clear mandate, which leads to overlaps and gaps The lack of local/basin institutions Unfavorable political environment Source: UN-ESCWA (2009)
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  • Readings Abdulrazzak, Mohamed (1997). Freshwater Resources in Arid Lands The future of freshwater resources in the Arabian peninsula. UNU Global Environmental Forum V Report. http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu02fe/uu02fe06.htm MAW (Ministry of Agriculture and Water) (1984). Water Atlas of Saudi Arabia. MAW, Riyadh. UN (2009). General Assembly A/RES/63/124, The law of Transboundary Aquifers http://www.isarm.org/dynamics/modules/SFIL0100/view.php?fil_Id=227 http://www.isarm.org/dynamics/modules/SFIL0100/view.php?fil_Id=227 UN-ESCWA(2009). Expert Group Meeting on Applying IWRM Principles in Managing Shared Water Resources: Towards a Regional Vision. Beirut, 1-3 December 2009 E/ESCWA/SDPD/2009/WG.5/1/Report UNESCO-IHP (2009). Atlas of Transboundary Aquifers SC-2009/WS/22 http://www.isarm.org/publications/324 Foster, S. and Loucks, D.P. (eds.). (2006). Non-renewable groundwater resources: A guidebook on socially- sustainable management for water-policy makers. IHP-VI, Series on Groundwater No. 10. UNESCO, Paris. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001469/146997e.pdf http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001469/146997e.pdf Arab Water Council (2004). State of the Water Report in the Arab Region. http://www.arabwatercouncil.org/index.php?CMS_P=203 WEBSITES ISARM Programme website. http://www.gapminder.org/world http://www.gapminder.org/world http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/main/index.stm http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/main/index.stm http://www.un-igrac.org/publications/119 http://www.un-igrac.org/publications/119 http://www.whymap.org/whymap/EN/Home/whymap_node.htm http://www.whymap.org/whymap/EN/Home/whymap_node.htm http://www.inweb.gr
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  • Questions for Discussion What does this mean to you? Photo Credit: Ground Water Mining For Wheat To Be Phased Out In Saudi Arabia treehugger.com Into the well from which you drink, do not throw stones
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  • Raoof Al Attar- Iraq, Second Arab Water Forum (2011) What opportunities are there for cooperation between states to address the water resources challenges of the region? In what ways are the draft articles of The Law of Transboundary Aquifers relevant to the groundwater mining situation of the region? How can the obstacles to implementing agreements be overcome? Questions for Discussion
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