Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1169–1171 | Cite as

The return of groundwater quantity: a mega-scale and interdisciplinary “future of hydrogeology”?

  • Tom Gleeson
  • Michael Cardiff

A series of recent papers suggest groundwater quantity may be returning to prominence in hydrogeology research. The unsustainable depletion of groundwater has been documented on both regional (Rodell et al. 2009; Tiwari et al. 2009; Famiglietti et al. 2011) and global scales (Wada et al. 2010; Konikow 2011; Wada et al. 2012) using data synthesis and the GRACE satellite data. Additionally, how groundwater resources will be impacted by global change remains important but uncertain and difficult to predict (Green et al. 2011; Taylor et al. 2013). Recent discussions on groundwater sustainability have suggested applying cutting-edge sustainability concepts such as multi-generational goal setting and adaptive management to groundwater quantity problems (Gleeson et al. 2010, 2012).

At its core, groundwater quantity is a water budget question of fluxes and stores. The critical applied questions of groundwater quantity are “how much groundwater is available for sustainable use, and what is the...


Water supply Hydraulic properties Groundwater recharge/water budget Groundwater management 

Le retour du quantitatif en matière d’eaux souterraines : une “hydrogéologie du futur” de très grande échelle et interdisciplinaire ?

El regreso de la cuantificación del agua subterránea: un “futuro de la hidrogeología” interdisciplinaria y a megaescala?


O regresso da quantificação da água subterrânea: um “futuro da hidrogeologia” interdisciplinar e a mega-escala?



This essay was significantly improved by suggestions from M. Sophocleous, S. Gorelick, L. Smith, S. Loheide and G. Ferguson and originally inspired by conversations at the ‘Cutting Edge’ Early Career Geoscientist workshop in June 2012 College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. The workshop is sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) with funding provided by the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education. We thank the workshop leaders, NAGT and NSF for this opportunity and encourage other early career hydrogeologists to check out future workshops.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of Wisconsin - MadisonMadisonUSA

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