This paper develops a structured framework that considers an index of means for achieving sustainability, the ‘groundwater sustainability infrastructure index (GSII)’, as a measure of groundwater sustainability. The infrastructure here refers to the existing knowledge, practices, and institutions whose adequate strengthening helps achieve groundwater sustainability. The index is composed of five components (groundwater monitoring-GwM, knowledge generation and dissemination-KgD, regulatory interventions-ReI, public participation-PuP and institutional responsibility-InR) which disaggregate into 16 indicators. The index is illustrated with Kathmandu Valley in Nepal as a case study site. The study results showed that the overall situation of the ‘groundwater sustainability infrastructures’ in Kathmandu Valley is relatively poor (GSII = 0.22). The scores of all the components of the index lie on the lower side of the sustainability scale (0–1, 1 representing the highest degree of sustainability). Therefore, more attentions are required to strengthen the sustainability infrastructures and subsequently achieve groundwater sustainability in the valley. Results of the GSII application demonstrated that the index could highlight areas for improvement and ultimately guide appropriate action and policy-making towards sustainable groundwater management.
Groundwater resources of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal are under immense pressure from multiple stresses, including climate change. Due to over-extraction, groundwater resources are depleting, leading to social, environmental, and economic problems. Climate change might add additional pressure by altering groundwater recharge rates and availability [...]