A regulatory directive technical framework for sustainable water management in the semi-arid climates

Nanekely, MAA ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4024-3392 2020, A regulatory directive technical framework for sustainable water management in the semi-arid climates , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Sustainable management of water resources, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas, is increasingly becoming more challenging, due to a combined effect of a rapid population growth associated with overexploitation of water resources, and impact of climate change. Climate change is projected to intensify frequency and severity of extreme events, particularly drought episodes in arid and semi-arid climatic regions. The combined effect is placing a considerable strain on the already limited water resources and has been increasing the pressure on water managers and decision-makers. A key challenge ahead is to develop measures for sustainable management of water resources. The overarching aim of this thesis is to develop a technical framework that supports the management of water resources in arid and semi-arid. The importance of the developed technical framework is to respond to these challenges through an integrated multi-objective approach for water management. Besides, there is a definite need to cope with rapid social changes and economic development, and ever-increasing water demands in a continuously changing environment. Erbil province in Iraq was chosen as a representative case study of dozens of arid and semi-arid areas, where low water-use efficiency and excessive use of water resources, particularly groundwater resources are ruling trends. Also, statutory, and legislative pressure as jurisdictions strive to implement water resources statutory standards appropriately, and the frequency and severity of drought events are projected to intensify. A novel research strategy established including a combination of a critical analysis of relevant literature, a survey including questionnaire analysis and focus group discussion, in-depth analysis and evaluation of a case study, and a critical appraisal of statutory, regulations and archived legislation documents. The study embraced interacted and interdisciplinary themes to build up a supportive framework that focused on the influential factors for sustainable water management in terms of conservation, provision and availability, and equity water allocation. Results revealed that there are an overall downward precipitation trend and upward temperature tendency across the investigated area. Two dry spell periods were observed: 1999-2001 and 2007-2008. Findings showed that there is a significant drop in groundwater levels that can be attributed to the over-exploitation of groundwater and the impact of climate change. The amounts of abstraction during dry seasons considerably exceeded the one during the wet seasons. It also exceeded both recharge and safe yield of the aquifer system. Local communities at extreme risk of water shortages as 91% of the observation wells were associated with significant drops in groundwater levels. The degree of vulnerability of the local communities to water shortages is expected to increase. Considering that the current practices of over-abstraction of groundwater cannot be addressed appropriately in the foreseeable future, together with the impacts of climate change, represented a decrease in precipitation and increase in temperature and potential evapotranspiration rates. Rainwater harvesting ponds have a significant role in flood risk reduction. The harvested rainwater volumes mostly are not sufficient for a long drought season for watering livestock and farm irrigation; it can be regarded as a mitigation measure. The rainwater harvesting ponds as a (SuDS) measure can be employed for recreation in a certain season where the climate is moderate. As for biodiversity, despite there was not a satisfactory result, but joint actions are needed to involve Tourism Board, Environment Agency with Water Resources Management. More hydro-geological studies are needed to manage groundwater recharge properly. The outcomes show that retrofitting rainwater harvesting system in the case study area will have gain affirmative returns in the perspectives of environment, economic and amenity if invested properly. The reviewed documents of laws and regulations do have their weaknesses; the major flaw noted is the lack of practical and technical details by most of them in guaranteeing the achievement of the obligations regarding the proper management of water resources. Besides that, the drafting of some of the laws follows a general style, with some provisions overlapping one another; others lack detailed mechanisms and scientific dimensions. Further, due to diverse political assessments by statesmen and politicians at this stage, lack of funding and weak monitoring procedures has also acted as factors hindering lawmakers and academic institutions from having a useful contribution to the matter. Decision-making process encounter challenges, the highest rate was given to conflicts accounting for nearly 46%, while the lowest proportion was linked to social poverty (12%). About 23.1% and 19.8% were associated with health and economic growth, respectively. Results indicated that nearly 85% of the total water-related risks were linked to financial and physical attributes. Approximately 15% of the risks were linked to both regulations and business reputation features. The development of a local groundwater database linked to regional databases is strongly recommended for sustainable management purposes. Mapping of recharge areas and groundwater protection zones are crucial and should be considered as an integral part of long-term integrated watershed management Groundwater in shared aquifers should be regarded as common to all parties. It is recommended a resilient strategy, which increasingly introduces more restrictive policies in alliance with traditional local systems of water delivery. Joint consolidated planning is seen as a pivotal requirement among the water resources authorities, agriculture, municipalities, environment agency, climatology monitoring departments in terms of; planning, implementing, legislation, and good governance at a high level. Actions are required to apply rainwater harvesting system sustainably. Moreover, to revise and amend the environmental acts, laws, and regulations to promote water conservation and investments in integrated water resources management.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Scholz, M (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Depositing User: Mohammed Abdulwahid Abdullah Nanekely
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 12:37
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 12:37
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61379

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