Groundwater, defined as any water present beneath the earth’s surface, is a major source of water for a wide range of beneficial uses. In many countries, groundwater provides more than 50 percent of the water used for potable purposes. It is commonly accepted that all aquifers are considered to be vulnerable to groundwater degradation and depletion. These impacts are mostly invisible due to the hidden nature of the resource. Widespread water quality degradation and/or contamination have been reported in most countries. All human activities can negatively impact water quality in aquifers and the consequences of these impacts can result in the temporary or permanent loss of the resource, significant expenditures to remediate the aquifer and to remove hazardous materials from the water prior to use. The demand and pressures on our groundwater resources will increase into the future. It is thus important that the management of this finite resource be done within a best practice framework provided by the various technical solutions, policies, regulations and strategies. In order to protect groundwater resources from degradation and depletion it is recommended to determine the level of degradation and depletion that are acceptable and put in place mechanisms to guarantee the desired state.
The Groundwater Management and Remediation Specialist Group provides a unique forum within IWA to address the full range of scientific, technological, managerial and regulatory policy issues that have arisen over the last two decades in many countries regarding protection, remediation and use of the groundwater resource. We will focus on the causes of anthropogenic threats and impacts to groundwater quality, mitigation measures to reduce these threats and remediate impacts, and managerial strategies to ensure that sustainable use of the groundwater resource can be assured. The Group will address issues of concern to professionals involved with groundwater management and groundwater remediation, as well as issues associated with the use of the subsurface environment for aquifer storage and recovery.
The Groundwater Management and Remediation Specialist Group aims to enhance inter- and interdisciplinary collaboration to find sustainable solutions. The group will also expand its activities to not only include technological solutions and advances but also focus on the “softer” sciences. Multiple organisations, policies, legislation, plans, strategies and perspectives should be involved in water-related decision-making to ensure that groundwater is managed and protected sustainably.