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  • Groundwater is a critical resource for providing drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, and supporting ecosystems. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people globally rely on groundwater for their daily needs [UNESCO, 2012]. However, groundwater resources are finite and can be depleted or rendered unsafe due to contamination, causing a threat to water security, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Over-extraction causes such severe impacts as land subsidence, seawater intrusion, and drying of streams, ultimately leading to environmental degradation and a loss of ecosystem services. 

  • Groundwater contamination is another major issue that threatens groundwater sustainability. Emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), legacy pollutants such as heavy metals, and natural pollutants such as fluoride and arsenic can have severe impacts on human health, ecosystems, and societies. Therefore, effective groundwater management requires monitoring, regulation, and remediation of contaminated groundwater resources. 



Groundwater sustainability is a complex and multi-dimensional issue that requires a holistic approach. Groundwater resources are connected to various interfaces such as soils, wetlands, and coastal waters, making it challenging to manage sustainably. To address this challenge, the UNU-FLORES Resource Nexus Analytics, Informatics, and Data (AID) Programme offers a Groundwater Sustainability module that adopts a resource nexus approach. 

A resource nexus approach combines different disciplines and sectors, such as big data, the economy, socio-economy, and social aspects, to address complex and interconnected environmental and social issues. The groundwater sustainability module aims to promote a resource nexus approach by identifying and promoting information, data, computational techniques, and analytical tools that facilitate the sustainable management of groundwater resources. 

The module focuses on three main pillars: 

  • Groundwater Data: This pillar aims to facilitate data exchange and fill the data gaps for analyzing groundwater systems. It inventories existing groundwater data and identifies the data gaps using a problem-driven approach that helps governments, societies, and businesses tackle global environmental challenges. 

  • Groundwater Informatics: This pillar aims to build and improve the capacity for computing and processing groundwater data. It develops and promotes state-of-the-art tools and best practices to store, process, analyze, and manage groundwater data in coupled human-environment systems. 

  • Groundwater Analytics: This pillar aims to facilitate the extraction of information from data and inform decision-making by inventorying, developing, and promoting state-of-the-art groundwater analytical tools and frameworks. 

By promoting a resource nexus approach, the groundwater sustainability module aims to provide unique datasets and toolkits from multiple disciplines to address the grand challenges related to sustainable groundwater management. These challenges align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and require a multi-dimensional approach to be effectively addressed. 


These pillars provide various tools and resources to help manage groundwater resources sustainably. By promoting groundwater sustainability and using tools like those offered by the Groundwater Sustainability module, we can ensure that groundwater resources are managed effectively and efficiently to support human needs, protect ecosystems, and ensure their availability for future generations. Some of the tools and resources include:

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Global Groundwater Information System (GGIS)

A web-based platform that provides access to global groundwater data, maps, and metadata.


National Groundwater Information System (NGIS)

A database that provides access to national groundwater information, including well data, groundwater levels, and groundwater quality data.



A Python package that supports creating, running, and managing MODFLOW groundwater models.



A cloud-powered, data-enabled, and real-time global interactive groundwater modeling platform.



A community hydrologic modeling framework for scientific discovery that provides interactive models and lesson plans for groundwater education and outreach.


USGS Groundwater Toolbox

A set of software tools for analyzing and visualizing groundwater data, including groundwater levels, water quality, and water use.  


The Groundwater Project

A non-profit organization committed to advancing education by creating and making available online free high-quality groundwater educational material for all. 


Groundwater Modelling Decision Support Initiative (GMDSI)

Groundwater Modelling Decision Support Initiative (GMDSI) is industry-funded and industry-aligned. Established in mid-2019, it aims to improve the contribution that groundwater modelling can make to groundwater management, regulation and decision making. 


SYMPLE (School of hYdrogeological Modelling & Project-reLated stratEgies)

SYMPLE (School of hYdrogeological Modelling & Project-reLated stratEgies) is a School of Hydrogeological Modelling hosted by professionals and academics. 


GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites

Used to study groundwater and other Earth systems. 

Get to Know AID Members

You can consult with the AID group leader or any members for your regional, national, and global datasets, tools, and analytics projects and questions.


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