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Governance tool for sustainable water resources allocation in the Mediterranean through stakeholder's collaboration. Towards a paradigm shift in groundwater management by end-users. (GOTHAM)

The overarching objective of the GOTHAM project is to develop and validate a user-driven and scalable tool that enables effective groundwater governance to preserve the quantity and quality of this strategic resource on the Mediterranean basin. One of the main strengths of the tool (GTool) is that it involves the different water users in a common framework where they can exchange information in order to reach the most optimal water governance at each point in time as well as in future scenarios. In this sense, this tool will be tested and validated by the own users, ensuring its potential replicability and transferability in other Mediterranean areas with similar geological and environmental constraints.

GOTHAM project presents a scalable and user-specific tool for decentralizing water resources management, including water availability and demand forecasting and their impact on groundwater balance and quality dynamics. GTool will also incorporate two key modules related to Managed Aquifer Recharge/remediation and agro-economic impact assessment, with the possibility of simulating several economic instruments for water policies. An optimised water allocation module will be developed to calculate the optimal Water Resource Mix, assuming socio-economic boundary conditions and several water availability and demand scenarios.

A broad range of impacts are expected as a consequence of project development, including the reduction of groundwater balance uncertainty, the implementation of cost-effectiveness criteria in water allocation as well as the recommendation of water strategies for increasing water resilience and security. Aquifer overexploitation and pollution will be analysed by applying Data Analytics algorithms to time series from data-loggers and remote sensing imagery. The development and validation of an user-based water allocation tool will boost the creation of GWUAs, which self-regulation offers tremendous potential for effective groundwater governance.

Universidad de Córdoba

- Carry out comprehensive analysis and a complete diagnostic of the water balance and water quality dynamics in Mediterranean groundwater bodies, paramount to understanding the current management decisions and other natural causes that are leading to quantity and quality problems in aquifers and thus establish limits to the governance decisions that can be taken.
- Determine the best alternatives for groundwater quality and quantity improvement through an optimised allocation system, that takes into account different type of water resources (conventional vs non-conventional) and uses (agricultural, urban and industrial), temporal scales (short - daily operation - and mid/long term - infrastructure planning and management), and environmental, economic and societal impacts.
- Develop a Groundwater Governance Framework (GGF) that could be applied in all the Mediterranean countries.
- Effectively implement a set of economic policy instruments in groundwater management.
- Predict future water demand and drought events in the area of influence of the groundwater body and assess their derived groundwater quantitative impacts (over-abstraction and depletion) and chemical status degradation (seawater intrusion, transport of contaminants including nitrates and organic contaminants) in order to establish the need to change water management decisions with enough time.
- Calculate the potential feasibility and benefits of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and aquifer remediation as an additional groundwater governance decisions.

WP3: Development of the Groundwater Governance Framework (GGF) The main result of this WP will be the definition of the Governance Model for decentralizing water resources management.

D3.1 Definition of socio-technical scenarios for each case study.
D3.2 Agriwater Optimizer Tool-AWOT software.
D3.3 Water demand assessor module development.

- Innovative earth observation and ICT tools-based, Decision Support Systems for planning adaptation to global changes and anticipating droughts.
- New modelling routines for determining the basic components of the water cycle, including economic, social and technical aspects.
- Cost-effective and high-efficiency managed aquifer recharge and retention measures for floodplain renaturalization.
- Development and review of water rights systems -ensuring allocations for all water users are based on up to date knowledge of the overall water balance, including that needed to sustain ecosystem.

Water, Environmental and Agricultural Resources Economics (WEARE)

Code PAIDI: SEJ-592

Julio Berbel Vecino . Partner. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 155,625.00

Keywords: User engagement, Groundwater Governance Framework, Data Analytics, user-driven tool, Groundwater Users Associations (GWUAs), stakeholder’s participation
Duration: 36 months. April, 1th 2020 to March, 31th 2023
Project cost: € 1,600,000.00