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Using stable isotopes to inform water resource management in forested and agricultural ecosystems


Abstract

Present and future climatic trends are expected to markedly alter water fluxes and stores in the hydrologic cycle. In addition, water demand continues to grow due to increased human use and a growing population. Sustainably managing water resources requires a thorough understanding of water storage and flow in natural, agricultural, and urban ecosystems. Measurements of stable isotopes of water (hydrogen and oxygen) in the water cycle (atmosphere, soils, plants, surface water, and groundwater) can provide information on the transport pathways, sourcing, dynamics, ages, and storage pools of water that is difficult to obtain with other techniques. However, the potential of these techniques for practical questions has not been fully exploited yet. Here, we outline the benefits and limitations of potential applications of stable isotope methods useful to water managers, farmers, and other stakeholders. We also describe several case studies demonstrating how stable isotopes of water can support water management decision-making. Finally, we propose a workflow that guides users through a sequence of decisions required to apply stable isotope methods to examples of water management issues. We call for ongoing dialogue and a stronger connection between water management stakeholders and water stable isotope practitioners to identify the most pressing issues and develop best-practice guidelines to apply these techniques.

Abstract

Present and future climatic trends are expected to markedly alter water fluxes and stores in the hydrologic cycle. In addition, water demand continues to grow due to increased human use and a growing population. Sustainably managing water resources requires a thorough understanding of water storage and flow in natural, agricultural, and urban ecosystems. Measurements of stable isotopes of water (hydrogen and oxygen) in the water cycle (atmosphere, soils, plants, surface water, and groundwater) can provide information on the transport pathways, sourcing, dynamics, ages, and storage pools of water that is difficult to obtain with other techniques. However, the potential of these techniques for practical questions has not been fully exploited yet. Here, we outline the benefits and limitations of potential applications of stable isotope methods useful to water managers, farmers, and other stakeholders. We also describe several case studies demonstrating how stable isotopes of water can support water management decision-making. Finally, we propose a workflow that guides users through a sequence of decisions required to apply stable isotope methods to examples of water management issues. We call for ongoing dialogue and a stronger connection between water management stakeholders and water stable isotope practitioners to identify the most pressing issues and develop best-practice guidelines to apply these techniques.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Engineering
Physical Sciences > Waste Management and Disposal
Physical Sciences > Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Language:English
Date:1 August 2024
Deposited On:03 Jul 2024 14:01
Last Modified:11 Jul 2024 11:52
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0301-4797
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2024.121381
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID892889
  • : Project TitleProArc - The protein archive: preservation potential of ancient human diets and diseases.
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)