Special Issue "Understanding and Responding to Aquifer Vulnerability and Associated Health Risks"
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 January 2021).
Interests: social and technical health-system innovation (community-centered); participatory local/regional sustainable development and capacity building; environmental & social justice; risk and vulnerability assessment; impacts of rapid urbanization; watershed stewardship; climate change resilience of cities and regions; Latin American Region and rapidly industrializing countries
Half of the world’s population depends on groundwater for its drinking water. Yet, aquifers and groundwater resources are particularly vulnerable to being compromised, in terms of both pollution that puts water quality and public health at risk and over-exploitation and loss of recharge capacity that threaten sustainability. Why is this? While answers are place- and population-specific, some common attributes are: Aquifers are ‘invisible’ water resources that are generally poorly understood, monitored and appreciated by society, compared to reservoirs and surface water bodies in ‘plain sight’; Regulations to protect groundwater quality and conserve aquifer viability are poorly developed and implemented; Exploited aquifer systems are complex socio-ecological systems that are hard to model and understand scientifically and technically, especially in terms of multiple risks and stressors, including rapid urbanization, contamination by both natural and anthropogenic risk agents, and climate change.
The precarity of groundwater warrants special attention from researchers, engineers and policy makers—as well as from communities, farmers and other businesses that depend on them for health, well-being, livelihood and economic sustainability. For towns, cities and regions, groundwater may constitute their ‘lifeblood’, directly and indirectly impacting them in powerful ways at multiple spatial and temporal scales that defy simple characterization and that call for integrated stewardship. Groundwater is a primary dynamic component of hydro-biogeochemical systems, affecting ecosystems and the species that inhabit them—including humans.
How do we better understand the vulnerability of aquifers and associated health risks? How do we better protect and conserve these most valuable, grossly under-appreciated natural resources and ecological assets? What kinds of knowledge, insights and practical experiences can we share?
Dr. Timothy J. Downs
Manuscript Submission Information
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- natural and anthropogenic contaminants
- health science