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Mining of Transboundary Aquifers in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula

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Mining of Transboundary Aquifers in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. Arthur Ryzak University of Texas at Austin Spring-2012. Outline. Objective - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Mining of Transboundary Aquifers in the Saudi Arabian PeninsulaArthur RyzakUniversity of Texas at AustinSpring-20121OutlineObjectiveDescribe the current status of groundwater mining in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, as well as the measures being taken to minimize future conflict and harm.TopicsTransboundary Aquifer SystemsRegional ChallengesSustainable SolutionsInternational CooperationConclusionsReadingsQuestions for Discussion

Source: flickriver.comTransboundary 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 formationTransboundary aquifer or transboundary aquifer system means, respectively, an aquifer or aquifer system, parts of which are situated in different StatesGroundwater Mining - Extraction of groundwater from an aquifer having predominantly non-renewable resources with depletion of aquifer reservesSource: UN (2009)Transboundary Aquifer SystemsSource: UNESCO-IHP (2006)

NationalBoundaryTransboundary Aquifer Systems

Source: UNESCO-IHP (2009)Transboundary Aquifer SystemsSource: MAW (1984)RelativeWater WithdrawalYemen = 176 m^3/c/yrS.A. = 979 m^3/c/yr

Regional ChallengesSource: gapminder.org (2012)

RelativeWater WithdrawalYemen = 176 m^3/c/yrS.A. = 979 m^3/c/yrRegional Challenges

Very Little Groundwater RechargeRegional ChallengesVery Little Precipitation

Regional ChallengesVery Little Overland Flow

Regional Challenges50 Miles Southeast of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Regional Challenges

Water Usage and Demand in the Arabian PeninsulaRegional ChallengesGroundwater mining is unsustainableRenewable supply does not meet current consumption demandsPopulation doubling time = 20yrsGroundwater mining has been considered necessaryAgricultural self-sufficiency and food securityRenewable sources inadequate for agricultureSanaa Water CrisisPotential of 2 million water refugees

Sustainable SolutionsReduce consumptionAgricultural policies and practicesMunicipal management Increase supplyDesalination and wastewater reuseDevelop renewable resourcesPiping projectsDecrease effected populationRelocation to areas with better resources

All these measures benefit from cooperation between states

Source: Saudiembassy.netInternational CooperationStakeholder MeetingsArab Water CouncilUnited NationsUN-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)

International CooperationThe Law of Transboundary Aquifer SystemsDraft 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 lawEquitable and reasonable utilization Obligation not to cause significant harmRegular exchange of data and informationAquifer states encouraged to enter into bilateral or regional agreements amongst themselvesProtection, preservation, and managementTechnical cooperation with developing statesProtected by the rules and principles of international law during times of armed conflictNo 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)

ConclusionsStakeholders 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 gapsThe lack of local/basin institutionsUnfavorable political environment

Source: UN-ESCWA (2009) ReadingsAbdulrazzak, 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 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/324Foster, 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.pdfArab Water Council (2004). State of the Water Report in the Arab Region. http://www.arabwatercouncil.org/index.php?CMS_P=203WEBSITESISARM Programme website .http://www.gapminder.org/worldhttp://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/main/index.stmhttp://www.un-igrac.org/publications/119http://www.whymap.org/whymap/EN/Home/whymap_node.htmhttp://www.inweb.gr

Questions for DiscussionWhat 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

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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