Drying Wells, Rising Stakes

Towards Sustainable Agricultural Groundwater Use

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Groundwater has provided great benefits to agriculture irrigation in semi-arid OECD countries, but its intensive use beyond recharge in certain regions has depleted resources and generated significant negative environmental externalities. The report provides a characterisation of the diversity of groundwater systems, reviews policies in OECD countries, and proposes a package of recommendations to ensure that groundwater can sustain its services to agriculture and contribute to climate change adaptation.

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Understanding agricultural groundwater systems and challenges

This chapter discusses the diversity of agricultural groundwater systems in OECD countries with the goal of identifying the main factors that may need to be accounted for when managing groundwater systems. Acknowledging these characteristics, the key challenges associated with agricultural groundwater pumping in OECD countries are reviewed, considering, in particular, reversible and irreversible externalities.

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