Topics and Sessions

Groundwater Management and Governance: Coping with Water Scarcity

Temperate zone of the Planet is one of the most endangered regions worldwide concerning water scarcity. There seems to be an agreement in climatic model predictions for this area that will suffer severe drought events and, consequently, significant reduction in water availability.

Water scarcity as a consequence of severe climate change is not the only concern, recent studies on aquifer sustainability show that the largest aquifers in the world are undergoing (or will undergo) severe GW lowering that are not long-term sustainable.

To prepare for these scenarios and to cope with their consequences, appropriate management and governance of water resources, and specifically of groundwater, are needed.


Topic 1

Groundwater assessment and management

Groundwater management should be based on adequate resource assessment and aquifer functioning. Nevertheless, groundwater is in the origin of many conflicts. In many cases, these conflicts arise not due to groundwater availability but to poor management and governance.

Topic 2

Groundwater and climate change

Countries from temperate zones of the Earth, such as Western Mediterranean countries of both Southern Europe and North Africa, are expected to experience impacts on the sustainability, quantity, quality, and management of water resources. Future scenarios forecast the decline in streamflow reducing reservoir storage for population supply. In this context, groundwater becomes an increasingly strategic resource to meet water demand from urban areas and agriculture.

Within this topic will be the meeting of the IAH Commission on Groundwater and Climate Change (IAH-CGCC).


Topic 3

Groundwater sustainability and governance

Major changes are ongoing in population growth, human migration, and land use, increasing the stress on the available quantity and quality of water resources. Water demand is increasing particularly in regions where it is already scarce, both for human and agricultural uses. It is important to analyze the sustainability of groundwater use around the world, and especially of some of the largest aquifers in the world. At the current pace, aquifers on which millions of people depend could be depleted in the near future. Can we move from groundwater mining into groundwater usage of renewable resources?

Within this topic will be organized a session on Groundwater and water security in developing countries (Burdon Groundwater Network for International Development).

Topic 4

Groundwater footprint and virtual water

Water resources management is an important issue in arid and semi-arid regions. In many cases water conflicts arise not because of the scarcity in water resources but because of improper management. Concepts such as virtual water and water footprint can help in improving current management practices and provide new insights, a new awareness about the importance of the resource. The groundwater footprint has served to bring awareness about the current usage of groundwater and to point out the aquifers whose management is unsustainable.


Topic 5

Tools, methods and models to study groundwater

This topic will be open to the broad spectrum of methodologies and models conventionally applied in Hydrogeology (hydrogeological mapping, hydrodynamic, hydrochemistry, isotopes, tracers, etc.), but particularly to the most innovative ones and to new trends in modelling.

Within this topic several sessions will be organized:

  • 5.1. Dynamic Analogues
  • 5.2. High island hydrogeology
  • 5.3. Advanced modelling tools for subsurface hydrology: from the vadose zone to deep environments
  • 5.4. Innovative approaches for understanding groundwater flow systems

Topic 6

Groundwater, wetlands and natural heritage

Most wetlands, particularly the permanent ones, are groundwater dependent. They are fragile ecosystems that can be located in the recharge or in the discharge areas of aquifers (some can be located in an intermediate position). To recognize the relationship between wetlands and groundwater is crucial for their adequate management and the preservation of the natural heritage to which they belong.

Within this topic will be organized a session on Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs).


Topic 7

Karst Hydrogeology

This section deals with the recent advances and novel application of research methods in hydrogeological studies in karst systems. Special emphasis will be focused on issues related to quantity and quality of karst waters, hydrodynamic, hydrochemistry and isotopes. A deeper understanding of tracing techniques by means of fluorescent and natural tracers are key aspects for a more precise conceptualization of carbonate karst aquifers. Additionally, new trends on groundwater recharge and water management as well as modeling methods for simulating flow distribution, solute transport and reactive (coupled) processes will also be highlighted in this topic.

Topic 8

Groundwater quality and pollution processes

Groundwater usage, once available, very often depends on its quality. Groundwater quality is greatly modified by the geologic substratum, but also it is threatened by human-induced pressures and the appareance of emerging chemicals. Therefore, appropiate groundwater protection and remediation strategies (in case of polluted waters) must be applied for preserving present and future human health and its well-being.


Topic 9

Groundwater and socio-economic development in Latin-America

Under this heading it is proposed to organize an Ibero-American mini-symposium, specifically targeted to Iberian and Latin-American participants, concerning on topics like mining activities, groundwater monitoring and assessment, socio-economic impact of groundwater.

English is the official language of the Congress but, in this session, the use of Spanish for oral presentations is permitted. In any case the text of the slides must be written always in English.

Topic 10

Urban groundwater

Groundwater forms a pivotal resource for future cities worldwide, for water, energy, flood mitigation, integrated surface-ground water management, and low carbon, equitable and sustainable cities.  All abstracts on presentation of new scientific understanding of key processes of urban groundwater resources, contamination impacts and opportunities, are welcomed, as well as interdisciplinary presentations on urban planning, groundwater management and use.