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Title: Groundwater intensive exploitation and mining in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain: Hydrogeological, environmental, economic and social aspects
Authors: Custodio, Emilio
del Carmen Cabrera, Maria 
Poncela, Roberto
Puga, Luis-Olavo
Skupien, Elzbieta
del Villar, Alberto
UNESCO Clasification: 22 Física
Keywords: Gran Canaria
Groundwater mining
Intensive aquifer exploitation
Reserve depletion
Tenerife, et al
Issue Date: 2016
Journal: Science of the Total Environment 
Abstract: Intensive exploitation and continuous consumption of groundwater reserves (groundwater mining) have been real facts for decades in arid and semiarid areas. A summary of experience in the hydrogeological, economic, social and ethical consequences of groundwater intensive and mining exploitation in Gran Canaria and Tenerife Islands, in the Canarian Archipelago, is presented. Groundwater abstraction is less than recharge, but a significant outflow of groundwater to the sea cannot be avoided, especially in Tenerife, due to its younger volcanic coastal formations. Consequently, the intensive aquifer groundwater development by means of wells and water galleries (tunnels) has produced a groundwater reserve depletion of about 2 km3. Should current groundwater abstraction cease, the recovery time to close-to-natural conditions is from decades to one century, except in the mid and high elevations of Tenerife, where this recovery is not possible as aquifer formations will remain permanently drained by the numerous long water galleries. The socio-economic circumstances are complex due to a long standing history of water resources exploitation, successive social changes on each island, and well-established groundwater water trading, with complex relationships that affect water governance and the resulting ethical concerns. Gran Canaria and Tenerife are in an advanced groundwater exploitation stage and have a large water demand. They are good examples that allow drawing guidelines to evaluate groundwater development on other small high islands. After presenting the hydrogeological background, the socio-economic results are discussed to derive general knowledge to guide on water governance.
ISSN: 0048-9697
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.038
Source: Science Of The Total Environment[ISSN 0048-9697],v. 557, p. 425-437
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