The 4th SADC Groundwater Conference will be held on November 10–12, 2021. This virtual conference is organized by the Southern African Development Community – Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) and supported by several partners of the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP). Details of the first, second and third SADC groundwater conferences can be viewed on the GRIPP website.
With the overarching theme of ‘Towards a Water Secure SADC – Groundwater Systems Thinking’, the fourth groundwater conference seeks to understand how the systems thinking approach can contribute to a water-secure SADC region. Outputs from the conference will include: (i) multi-stakeholders’ declaration, (ii) conference proceedings, (iii) side-session reports, and (iv) press and media releases. The conference will provide inputs to the concurrent Africa Water and Sanitation Week to be held in Windhoek, Namibia, November 22-26, 2021, the 9th World Water Forum to be held in Dakar, Senegal, on March 21-26, 2022, and the Groundwater Summit to be held in Paris, France, on December 7-8, 2022.
It is estimated that more than 70% of the 280 million people living in the SADC region rely on groundwater as their primary source of water. Groundwater is critically important for alleviating poverty through improving human well-being, livelihoods, food production, ecosystems, industries, and for growing cities in the region. Despite varying dependency across Member States, groundwater usually provides a critical buffer between the dry and rainy seasons. Yet, this resource is still not prominently featured in water discourses in national, regional and international policies.
The systems thinking approach offers solutions to groundwater challenges, e.g., (i) anticipating and adapting to the impacts of climate change on groundwater resources and dependent social-ecological systems; (ii) allocating available water among competing consumptive and environmental water needs, especially at times of scarcity; (iii) establishing the public’s trust and acceptance of management decisions and the underpinning science; and (iv) building the adaptive capacity of individuals, communities and institutions to communicate, learn and self-adjust to respond timely to incremental and abrupt changes in resource conditions.
The conference will be organized around the following three sub-themes:
Sub-theme 1: Groundwater – An integral part of the hydrological system
Sub-theme 2: Communities, institutions, capacity and local-level governance
Sub-theme 3: Deriving benefits from the groundwater system: Innovative groundwater infrastructure interventions
- Call for abstracts: July 5, 2021
- Deadline for submission of abstracts: October 9, 2021
- Notification to authors: October 16, 2021
- First draft of the program: October 18, 2021
- Confirmation sent to authors: October 25, 2021
- Publishing of final program: November 1, 2021
- Conference: November 10-12, 2021