Groundwater was in a focus of the tenth biennial Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, last week (October 7-10) in San Jose, California. This prestigious Forum gathered scientists and practitioners from all over the world to discuss a state of groundwater resources globally and challenges of development and implementation of policies for long-term sustainability of groundwater.
Sustainable Groundwater Management: The Path Forward
IGRAC had a privilege to provide a Forum’s keynote: Groundwater: Making Invisible Visible. The keynote addressed importance of building a case for invisible groundwater.
Groundwater is one of the vital natural resources and it is under increased pressure due to human activities and climate variability. Despite of this, invisible groundwater is out of sight and out of mind for most people. In the keynote, Neno Kukurić stressed that the proper monitoring and assessment are necessary for an informed management and governance (you cannot manage what you don’t measure) and argued for additional attention (through improving information sharing, awareness, education, lobbying, etc.) for groundwater.
The Forum participants presented an impressive review of state-of the art techniques and the tools to better assess and manage groundwater resources. The Forum also clearly revealed seriousness of groundwater situation in many regions throughout the world. There is no doubt that we are increasingly depleting and polluting our groundwaters. Still, the response is usually insufficient and often crisis-driven. Putting a proper legislation and governance in place becomes increasingly important but it can function only with mobilisation and cooperation of all stakeholders at various level of governance.
The Forum discussion confirmed that a substantial change in mindset is required to limit water demand, especially in (an increasing number of) regions where the water is inevitably becoming scarce. The Forum also stressed the importance of IGRAC’s mission in facilitating and promoting information and knowledge exchange for sustainable groundwater management. Since groundwater depletion is one of the main indicators of the state of groundwater resource, a suggestion was made during the Forum that IGRAC takes a role of a global clearing house for depletion data and prepares a global overview. Making groundwater a bit more visible.