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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hessd-9-5729-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hessd-9-5729-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 May 2012

Submitted as: research article | 02 May 2012

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This preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

The problems of overexploitation of aquifers in semi-arid areas: the Murcia Region and the Segura Basin (South-east Spain) case

T. Rodríguez-Estrella T. Rodríguez-Estrella
  • Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT), Department of Mining, Geological and Cartographic Engineering, Paseo Alfonso XIII, 52, 30203 Cartagena, Spain

Abstract. A general analysis of the problems arising from aquifer exploitation in semi-arid areas such as the Autonomous Region of Murcia, which belongs to the Segura Basin is presented, with particular reference to the Ascoy-Sopalmo aquifer, which is the most overexploited aquifer in Spain. It has suffered intense overabstraction over the last forty years, given renewable water resources of 2 Mm3 yr−1 and abstractions amounting to as much as 55 Mm3 yr−1. This has resulted in the drying of springs, continuous drawdown of water levels (5 m yr−1); piezometric drops (over 30 m in one year, as a consequence of it being a karstic aquifer); increase in pumping costs (elevating water from more than 320 m depth); abandoning of wells (45 reduced to 20), diminishing groundwater reserves, and deteriorating water quality (progressing from a mixed sodium bicarbonate-chloride facies to a sodium chloride one). This is a prime example of poor management with disastrous consequences. In this sense, a series of internal measures is proposed to alleviate the overexploitation of this aquifer and of the Segura Basin, with the aim of contributing to a sustainable future.

T. Rodríguez-Estrella

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T. Rodríguez-Estrella

T. Rodríguez-Estrella

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