Partners in the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP) contributed to the 8th Water Research Horizon Conference (WRHC-8) which was held in Hamburg, Germany, on September 19-20, 2017. They also organized an Open Space Workshop (OSW) on challenges for international groundwater research for development.
The WRHC is organized annually by the German nongovernmental organization Water Science Alliance e.V. (WSA e.V.). It serves to enhance interdisciplinary exchange among water sciences in Germany, dialogue between scientific institutions in the field of water, federal ministries and national funding organizations, such as Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and German Research Foundation (DFG). It also facilitates sharing of German water research with other countries. This year’s 8th conference took place under the theme “Climate Change Impacts and Rising Adaptation Needs” and was organized in cooperation with the Climate Service Centre Germany (GERICS). About 150 participants from universities and research institutions attended the conference.
As one of the invited speakers, Dr. Karen Villholth, Research Group Leader and Principal Researcher, Resilient and Sustainable Groundwater from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as well as Coordinator, (GRIPP), presented on the topic “Groundwater as the 21st century research challenge – for climate change adaptation and sustainable management“.
Under the coordination of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), GRIPP partners contributed to an OSW on the topic “Groundwater: From Research Challenges to Solutions” with inputs from IWMI, the Center for Advanced Water Research (CAWR) / Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and BGR. In the context of the workshop, challenges for international research on groundwater and possible solutions to sustainable development and management of the resource were discussed.
In the OSW, Villholth presented under the title “International groundwater challenges, collaboration and solutions,” which highlighted the contributions of IWMI through its ongoing activities towards sustainable groundwater management. In this context, she stressed the importance of building and working in international networks, such as the GRIPP, to better integrate groundwater within the international sustainable development agenda, on the one hand, and exchange lessons learned from successful groundwater projects between countries, on the other.
Through his presentation titled “Groundwater resources in Southern Africa: From occasional findings towards an exploration strategy”, Prof. Thomas Himmelsbach, Division Director – Groundwater and Soils, BGR, highlighted the importance of integrated research approaches to groundwater resources and natural recharge for the sustainable development of wide regions in arid parts of Africa.
Dr. Catalin Stefan, CAWR/TUD, delivered a presentation titled “Can we repair damaged hydrological cycles to ensure longer-term sustainable development? Managed Aquifer Recharge: Solution for sustainable management of water resources.” He highlighted options for managed aquifer recharge to protect groundwater from depletion and quality deterioration, and offered results from the INOWAS working group at TUD.
The results of the workshop are summarized in an outcome document published on the website of WSA e.V. This will feed into the overall outcome of the conference and be presented to the new German Water Research Perspectives Commission (WRPC). The document will also be helpful for other regional and global forums to inform better integrated water research agendas that take groundwater into account.
IWMI and BGR discuss cooperation under GRIPP
Following WRHC-8, Dr. Karen Villholth visited the BGR office in Hannover. She presented GRIPP and IWMI activities as part of the BGR Research Colloquium on Groundwater and Soils.
In smaller meetings with BGR colleagues involved in various groundwater research and advisory projects, new ideas were developed for further cooperation between IWMI and BGR under the umbrella of GRIPP. BGR became a member of GRIPP this year. Through GRIPP, it is planned to make results and products from selected BGR research and advisory activities available to a wider global audience, and to further extend the impact of BGR advisory services for sustainable groundwater management internationally.