On 15-16 March 2016, the workshop 'Groundwater Monitoring in Southeast Asia' was held in the Asia Hotel, in Bangkok Thailand. The workshop was organised by UNESCO Bangkok Office, Department of Groundwater Resources Thailand (DGR) and the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) under the framework of the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN) programme. In total 45 groundwater specialists from six countries (Cambodia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) attended the workshop.
The purpose of the workshop was to bring together national and international groundwater experts to review the state of groundwater monitoring in the region, to introduce the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN) programme and its possible role in Southeast Asia. The workshop was also intended to build synergies and strengthen international water cooperation.
On day 1, presentations were given by country representatives to share experiences on the current state of groundwater monitoring, information management and future challenges. In the afternoon, the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network Programme was introduced followed by a live demonstration of the recently launched GGMN Portal. Participants explored the functionalities of the GGMN Portal to become familiar with the GGMN Programme and the GGMN Portal. The first day was closed with an interactive session to identify the bottlenecks for proper groundwater monitoring and translate some of those into additional developments for the GGMN Programme.
On day 2, Professor Yangxiao Zhou (UNESCO-IHE) provided a presentation on groundwater monitoring in the Netherlands and the use and application of time series analysis for groundwater monitoring data. Afterwards, participants learned how to work with the time series analysis tool available in the GGMN Portal and how to create spatially interpolated groundwater maps using the GGMN Portal. In the afternoon, Sangam Shrestha (Asian Institute of Technology) presented the recently published book: ‘Groundwater Environment in Asian Cities: Concepts, Methods ad Case Studies’. Wytze Schuurmans and Nienke Ansems introduced the use of remotely sensed data for groundwater monitoring and the role of information technology and big data in groundwater research and management. The workshop was closed with an interactive session on ‘rolling out of the GGMN and the way forward’. In a world café session participants discussed the role of the GGMN in Southeast Asia.
Recognizing the lack of groundwater data around the world, IGRAC took initiative to establish the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN). GGMN is a UNESCO programme, implemented by IGRAC and supported by many global and regional partners. The GGMN is a participative, web-based network of networks, set up to improve quality and accessibility of groundwater monitoring information and subsequently our knowledge on the state of groundwater resources. The GGMN consists of a people network and of an interactive portal for storage, processing and dissemination of groundwater data. The national groundwater experts present in the workshop will have the opportunity to acquire an active role in the GGMN People Network and to continue to use the GGMN interactive portal.