Accès à l'eau souterraine des populations vulnérables en zone aride : un problème de ressource, de gestion ou d'information ?

Abstract : Drylands are home to 35% of the world's population and have among the highest levels of poverty. The small quantity and spatio-temporal heterogeneity of rainfall and runoff complicate not only the exploitation of the resource but also the understanding of those hydro-systems. However, since the origins of human history, in arid areas, people have been able to domesticate both surface and ground water the water. But the last decades have seen some arid areas become the scene of the development of industrial activities with intensive water uses that pose problems of management and access to water for users, particularly vulnerable populations. In the north of Chile, the Atacama Desert is one of the most arid areas of the world. Since the 1990s, with the installation of major mining projects, the region has experienced constant demographic and economic growth. Groundwater is extensively used for mining, domestic supply and agriculture. In order to understand if the problems of access to the groundwater of the Pampa del Tamarugal aquifer, in the Tarapacá region, are due to a limited resource, management issues, or to a lack of scientific information, a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approach has been put in place. This approach consists of two main parts: first, the characterization of the groundwater resources of the Pampa del Tamarugal aquifer. For this, the existing raw data and their production conditions have been analysed and a new hydrometric network has been designed with a multi-criteria analysis coupled with a GIS analysis. Then, the realization of an updated piezometric map and the comparison of this map with the piezometric data of the last decades allow to understand the evolution of the aquifer. Based on a detailed geological study and hydrochemical and isotopic analysis of sources and boreholes, the recharge of the aquifer has been characterized with the preponderant role of the Mesozoic substratum on the flows especially in the Cenozoic cover. To compensate for the lack of historical data, a complementary approach has been put in place consisting of integrating the local and indigenous knowledge for the development of the conceptual hydrogeological model. On the other hand, the management of the groundwater resources of the Pampa del Tamarugal aquifer was analyzed, with particular attention to understanding the role of scientific and technical information and the strategies and discourses of the actors on this management and on uses. Finally, the study of an ancient water management system has generated the information necessary for its preservation as a water heritage an arid zone but also in order to reuse this system for the current management of the aquifer. This research has improved the understanding of the Pampa del Tamarugal recharge mechanisms, as well as the flow and evolution of groundwater resources under anthropogenic pressure in an arid and mountainous area such as northern Chile. They also clarified the constraints limiting access to water for vulnerable populations in the study area, and the role of scientific information in the management of groundwater resources.
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Elisabeth Lictevout. Accès à l'eau souterraine des populations vulnérables en zone aride : un problème de ressource, de gestion ou d'information ?. Hydrologie. Université Montpellier, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018MONTG059⟩. ⟨tel-02045888⟩

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