Promoting groundwater management through basin organisations”
Invisible, poorly understood, even badly managed, groundwater nevertheless plays a major role in the hydrogeological cycle: it represents nearly 99% of the planet's unfrozen freshwater reserves and is a source of drinking water for most of the world population.
Thus, the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), for which the International Office for Water provides the Technical Secretariat, is particularly committed to better taking groundwater into account at the basin level. In partnership with the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), INBO has collaborated in the publication of an article "Basin Organizations & Groundwater" in the IAH "Strategic Overview Series", published in February 2022.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the major role of groundwater in Integrated Water Resources Management at the national and transnational basins scale. Indeed, groundwater systems constitute masses that cross borders invisibly, and their natural storage is vital for the resource preservation. Groundwater can therefore provide important ecological and economic services, and help to adapt to climate change in the current context of global surface water resources scarcity.
The basin organisations, which appear to be key players in the proper management of groundwater, are called upon to develop the sharing of knowledge in order to improve quality monitoring systems and preserve the resource.
The 2022 groundwater agenda
2022 is a special year for groundwater as it is the central theme of the UN-Water year. Indeed, groundwater plays a considerable strategic role in the achievement of SDG 6: to ensure access to sustainable water supply and sanitation services for all.
Thus, INBO will be present in several international debates during the coming months. First of all, during the 9th World Water Forum, the largest global event bringing together the water community, which will be held from 21 to 26 March in Dakar. Echoing the World Water Day of 22 March, "Groundwater: making the invisible visible", INBO will intervene, during the Forum, in the debates led by UNESCO and the UNECE, in order to feed the reflection on innovation, knowledge sharing and cooperation on the scale of transboundary groundwater resources.
"Groundwater often is a victim of the "Out of sight, out of mind" syndrom: people cannot see it and therefore do not realize that they are using it every day. We need to raise awareness globally and explain that we all depend on groundwater, and we need therefore to protect and manage it in a sustainable manner. UNESCO is glad to coordinate (with its International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre) the World Water Day campaign “Groundwater: making the invisible visible” and to host in its headquarters the upcoming UN-Water Summit on groundwater! (Paris, 6-8 December 2022) » " Abou Amani, Director of the Division of Water Sciences and Secretary of the Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme, UNESCO
Then, INBO will be present at the international conference "Groundwater, key to sustainable development objectives" which will be held in Paris from 18 to 20 May 2022. International decision-makers, Water Agencies, consulting firms, basin organizations, academics, donors, civil society, industrialists... several water specialists will be present to feed these exchanges whose objectives will aim at promoting the sharing of experience, knowledge and providing recommendations in order to promote a better integration of groundwater resources in the SDGs.
Finally, the UN Groundwater Summit, to be held in Paris in December, will be the highlight of this special year and will provide an opportunity to take stock of the progress of the associated SDGs.
A report on the challenges and opportunities of groundwater use, management and governance around the world will be published shortly.
More information to come...
Well in banco, Chinguetti desert, Mauritania