Groundwater Resources Sustainability: Past, Present, and Future

Larry Mays

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


With the worldwide depletion of groundwater and the intensified use around the world, particularly in many arid and semi-arid regions for irrigation and municipal use, there is no satisfactory approach to groundwater sustainability. The lack of and miss-management of this valuable resource has not only created serious groundwater pollution problems but has created present and/or future water supply problems. This paper does not present a solution, but instead examines economic ideas such as exhaustible resource theory (over exploitation), and optimization methodologies that can incorporate new ideas of groundwater sustainability, population growth constraints, include both short term and long term consequences, and consider multi-objectives. Concepts of groundwater footprint, recharge, and safe yield are discarded as concepts for measuring groundwater sustainability. The concept of developing a sustainability index that could also be used within the context of optimization is introduced. Also the concepts of traditional knowledge are discussed with the emphasis on the use of these methodologies for both developed and developing regions of the world to achieve groundwater sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4409-4424
Number of pages16
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number13
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Groundwater management
  • Optimization
  • Recharge
  • Safe yield
  • Sustainability
  • Traditional knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Groundwater Resources Sustainability: Past, Present, and Future'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this