This focal area addresses the security and quality of water supplies in water scarce areas and aims to improve adaptation to climate change. A wide range of methods for enhancing groundwater recharge have been developed and applied over the centuries, depending on source, availability and quality of water, geological and hydrogeological conditions, uses of recovered water, socio-economic conditions, governance and institutional frameworks and public awareness and participation in water management.
Considering the benefits of groundwater recharge management and its potential to be a significant contributor to the SDGs, the Programme Strategies for Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) in semi-arid regions was initiated in 2002 within UNESCO-IHP in cooperation with IAH. Its aim is to expand water resources and improve water quality in ways that are appropriate, environmentally sustainable, technically viable, economical and socially desirable. However, there is still room to increase knowledge and capacities for managing aquifer recharge, water harvesting and waste water recycling using combination of different engineering treatment techniques and natural attenuation processes.
Particularly in arid and semi-arid regions, MAR has the potential to contribute to the SDG 6 (water and sanitation) more economically than other alternatives. MAR programme can also be highly effective in creating new water resources, as well as in increasing security of drinking water supplies under climate change and population growth.