Land use patterns and management practices have a great influence on the quantity and quality of groundwater. Conversely, groundwater is instrumental in the development of land use activities by providing a source of water and secure moisture. This facilitates productive and consumptive water uses, but goes further by affecting natural soil fertility and the microclimate. As certain land uses and management practices have long-lasting and sometimes difficult to reverse impacts on groundwater, these are crucial factors in groundwater management. Proper land use management ensures that services like groundwater recharge and purification are safeguarded.
This chapter focuses on the impact of specific land use types and management practices on groundwater resources. Firstly, the main trends are highlighted that have come to define the relation between land use and groundwater, followed by the impact of land use planning on groundwater quantity and quality. Focus is then placed on practices that can bring groundwater tables and quality rates to an appropriate level. In doing so, 3R techniques to promote the retention, recharge and reuse of water are highlighted to address the water holding capacity of areas and expand the diversity of opportunities that communities have at hand. The chapter concludes by outlining a variety of policy instruments that exist to influence drivers that cause groundwater depletion and quality degradation.