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New Mexico State University (2021)

Managing Aquifer Sustainability and Food Security with Desalination

Getchell, Bryana

Titre : Managing Aquifer Sustainability and Food Security with Desalination

Auteur : Getchell, Bryana

Université de soutenance : New Mexico State University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2021

Aquifers are an important water source that continue to sustain populations internationally. These populations are supported by a wide range of water uses for livestock grazing, household use, and commercial demands. In regions that are heavily aquifer-dependent, the aim to both protect water resources and support economic growth can only be achieved by maintaining sustainable pumping patterns, which can be augmented by discovering new sources of groundwater. Desalination, although somewhat expensive, is emerging internationally as a method to protect against local aquifer depletion, especially in regions suffering from growing evidence of climate water stress. The contribution of this study is to develop and apply methodology to support the discovery of policies that maintain protection of aquifers while encouraging acceptable food security and limiting economic losses from pumping restrictions needed to sustain aquifers. This work also develops an original framework to guide policymakers on a path to efficiently allocate pumping caps across users while protecting aquifers, supported by the development of aquifer desalination. Nonlinear programming methods are employed to perform economic analysis of large aquifers discovered through remote sensing in northern Kenya. The Lotikipi Aquifer is the most noteworthy of these aquifers, estimated to hold over 200 billion cubic meters of water, thanks to its discovery in 2013. While initial pumping was halted due to high salinity levels, recent investment from the Republic of Kenya to desalinate the aquifer may contribute significantly to food and water security in its arid regions. A mathematical programming model is formulated, developed, and applied to build an economic model that calibrates optimized pumping patterns to replicate observed historical levels. After this calibration exercise, a second model is developed to identify a least cost set of pumping reductions that return the aquifer to starting conditions over a seven-year time horizon. A third model repeats the second model while also assuring a minimum level of food grain security. Results of our economic assessment show that desalination can increase food security as well as aquifer protection in a region where local conflicts, climate variability, and access to water have created hardship for local inhabitants in recent years

Présentation (NMSU )


Page publiée le 13 décembre 2022