Ecosystem Shifts: Implications for Groundwater Management

Esteban, E., Calvo, E., & Albiac Murillo, J. (2021). Ecosystem Shifts: Implications for Groundwater Management. Environmental and Resource Economics 10.1007/s10640-021-00569-7.

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Freshwater ecosystems provide a large number of benefits to society. However, extensive human activities threat the viability of these ecosystems, their habitats, and their dynamics and interactions. One of the main risks facing these systems is the overexploitation of groundwater resources that hinders the survival of several freshwater habitats. In this paper, we study optimal groundwater paths when considering freshwater ecosystems. We contribute to existing groundwater literature by including the possibility of regime shifts in freshwater ecosystems into a groundwater management problem. The health of the freshwater habitat, which depends on the groundwater level, presents a switch in its status that occurs when a critical water level (‘tipping point’) is reached. Our results highlight important differences in optimal extraction paths and optimal groundwater levels compared with traditional models. The outcomes suggest that optimal groundwater withdrawals are non-linear and depend on the critical threshold and the ecosystem’s health function. Our results show that the inclusion of regime shifts in water management calls for a reformulation of water policies to incorporate the structure of ecosystems and their interactions with the habitat.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Water Security (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 15:07
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:34

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