“Water Connects” was the theme and overarching message of the Budapest Water Summit, held between 28 and 30 November 2016 in Millenáris Park, Budapest, Hungary. It reinforced the centrality of water in the water-energy-food nexus and its role as a critical natural asset in achieving the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
On 29 November, Mr. Shammy Puri, former Secretary General of the IAH, chaired a session entitled, “Groundwater – How Can We Manage the Commons under Uncertainty?” at the Science-Technology Forum. He cautioned that transformational shifts are required in multiple sectors to enable proper management of groundwater in conjunction with surface water. Keynote speaker Mr. Jeremy Bird, Director General of the International Water Management Institute, presented the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice. GRIPP Partners Neno Kukuric, Director of the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) and Stephen Foster of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) were also keynote speakers during the session.
Attendees listened to Mr. Bird’s presentation of the IWMI-Tata Solar Power as a Remunerative Crop Project (SPaRC) in India, where farmers were incentivized to decrease water abstraction and sell their solar energy to the grid. “SPaRC serves as one example of a potentially transferable solution to groundwater issues,” said Mr Bird. “However, governance frameworks vary within and across countries.” He also highlighted GRIPP’s first case study on Moroccan aquifer contracts and the importance of sound science in influencing groundwater policies and management through carefully developed engagement and communication efforts.
IAH has produced six strategic overview papers on groundwater, addressing the linkages to global change, human health, food security, energy, ecosystems and cities. These papers tackle the challenge of identifying frameworks and appropriate governance criteria for high level decision makers. The session concluded that translating these into effective institutional partnerships remains a top priority, which is where GRIPP’s unique solution-sharing platform will act as a bridge between knowledge and policy.
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