Summary and Info
The protection of groundwater resources has emerged in recent years as a high priority topic on the agenda of many countries. In responding to the growing concern over deteriorating groundwater quality, many countries are developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the management of subsurface water resources with management referring to both quantity and quality aspects. Within this framework, groundwater models are rapidly coming to playa central role in the development of protection and rehabilitation strategies. These models provide forecasts of the future state of the groundwater aquifer systems and/or the unsaturated zone in response to proposed management initiatives. For example, models will predict the effects of implementing a proposed management scheme on water levels and on the transport and fate of pollutants. The models are now used in the formulation of policies and regulations, the issuing of permits, design of monitoring and data collection systems, and the development of enforcement actions. The growth in the use of these sophisticated tools has led to many unforeseen problems in groundwater management. Lingering issues include reliability of codes, quality assurance in model development and applications, efficient utiliza tion of human and material resources, technology transfer and training. Some issues have legal ramifications, as in cases where the applications of models have been contested in courts.