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Groundwater as a sustainable source of income and wealth creation

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Asia, and in particular the Mekong Delta region, is under increasing water use pressure. Food production and quality is one element of these growing pressures, as is water management. The authors have first-hand knowledge and experience in groundwater use and management in rural Thailand. Through the adoption of a micro-management, demand-driven approach, with its ultimate objective of sustainability and the betterment of the quality of human life, the Mekong delta and other similar rural areas in Asia offer considerable opportunity for more optimal sustainable exploitation of groundwater. This water source should be prioritized for village usage, which if properly allocated and managed, will lift a significant human population from poverty, into a more sustainable existence. This readily available, reliable groundwater resource exists and has both the capacity for abundant storage as well as the potential for commercial and household supply. The focus has been on understanding the distribution of the delta’s relatively shallow, well sustained, and consistently recharged groundwater resource, and its potential symbiotic linkage to low-volume household demand. Water has been employed in a variety of ways from improving quality of life and sanitation to generating income through the cultivation of cash crops and other similar productive uses. The fundamental aims of the initial model and subsequent trials have been to harness this robust water source and deliver otherwise unattainable income to households. As the following, more detailed study of rural Thailand demonstrates, the benefits of such an approach deliver sustainable enhancements to the quality of constituents’ lives, are environmentally sensitive and sustainable, and harmonize with governmental efforts to alleviate poverty through the enablement of income generation from groundwater utilization.

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  • Martin R, Savage R, Pyvis R (2004) A study to develop a strategy to expand rural water infrastructure within the restructured water and wastewater sector in Thailand. World Bank and Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility

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Correspondence to Richard Pyvis.

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Martin, R., Savage, R. & Pyvis, R. Groundwater as a sustainable source of income and wealth creation. Environ Earth Sci 70, 1965–1969 (2013).

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