Towards Sustainability in Groundwater Use: An Exploration of Key Drivers Motivating the Adoption and Implementation of Policy and Regulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Groundwater resources have come under increasing pressure from overuse and pollution leading to declines in both quantity and quality. As a renewable resource, the continued availability of sufficient and clean groundwater depends on its sustainable use. However, groundwater use has often been unsustainable, and in many countries-both developing and developed-legal and policy frameworks for its sustainable use remain limited and their design and implementation are under-researched. This article examines the drivers that motivate the development and implementation of legal and policy frameworks capable of ensuring the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources. Case studies conducted in Australia and Costa Rica reveal four key drivers: (i) the existence of a water crisis, (ii) awareness-which leads to information, learning and monitoring, (iii) civic leadership to foster meaningful participation and, (iv) government research and funding in order to understand the complexity of groundwater.


External organisations
  • IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
  • University of New South Wales
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Management
  • Public Administration Studies
  • Law (excluding Law and Society)


  • Australian Water Law, Costa Rican Water Law, drivers of groundwater sustainability, Groundwater, law and policy on groundwater, sustainable use of groundwater
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-137
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Environmental Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar
Publication categoryResearch