Change the World: Considering groundwater use to improve the assessment of groundwater pumping for irrigation in North Africa

The Springer Nature campaign “Change the World – One Article at a Time” highlights articles that seek to address the world’s most pressing problems. The Hydrogeology Journal article chosen, from all those published in 2017, considers groundwater use to improve the assessment of groundwater pumping for irrigation. This article is part of the journal’s topical collection “Groundwater-based agriculture in the Mediterranean”. Congratulations go to the authors: Sylvain Massuel, Farida Amichi, Fatah Ameur, Roger Calvez, Zakia Jenhaoui, Sami Bouarfa, Marcel Kuper, Hamadi Habaieb, Tarik Hartani, Ali Hammani.

The article first questions the assessment of water budget variables when they are deeply linked to human activities, themselves driven by multiple factors. The study estimates and predicts individual groundwater withdrawals using a user-orientated method, with irrigation at regional scale in mind. Key factors influencing irrigation strategies were identified by involving the knowledge of farmers at sites in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Farmer access to land and groundwater, and the development of public infrastructure (e.g. electrical distribution networks), are crucial. This leads to rethinking the direct link often cited in the literature between the number of wells and groundwater abstraction.

The article is freely available until the end of July 2018, and can be found at the link below.

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