Global groundwater community meets at IAH Congress in Malaga: strengths and challenges


The Andalusian city of Malaga hosted around 700 hydrogeologists during the 46th congress of International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), on 23-27 September 2019. The programme of the congress was rich and diverse and the organisation (by the University of Malaga) excellent. IGRAC was very pleased to contribute to both: the content of the congress and its organisation as a scientific partner.       

IGRAC presentations

IGRAC contribution was diverse and lasted throughout the congress week. The first conference day, in the session dedicated to Groundwater Assessment and Management, Neno Kukuric presented on Advances of Groundwater Monitoring, including automatic monitoring, telemetric transmission, smartphone application and spatial and temporal processing of observations.

Ainur Kokimova poster presentation at IAH2019

Within the topic Groundwater Sustainability and Governance, Ainur Kokimova presented a poster on Developing a model for a transboundary aquifer in the water-scarce region of Central Asia. The poster presented by Muhammad Muqeet Iqbal was about Assessing the potential of denitrification through Managed Aquifer Recharge, within the topic on advanced modelling tools. Both Ainur and Muqeet recently graduated from the Erasmus Master’s Programme Groundwater and Global Change. During their stay in Delft, IGRAC provided co-supervision and facilities, in close cooperation with IHE-Delft. IGRAC was very happy to support their attendance at the congress. All IGRAC’s presentations received a lot of attention and it was followed by focussed questions.

Participation in IAH commissions

During the Meetings of Commissions and Networks on Thursday, IGRAC took part in the panel organised by the IAH Early Career Hydrogeologists Network and briefly supported discussions of Commissions on Groundwater and Climate Change and on Managing Aquifer Recharge. 

The meeting of IAH Transboundary Aquifer Commission was held on Sunday, prior the congress. As a co-chair on the commission IGRAC participated in preparation and execution of the meeting. IGRAC presented on “Future of Transboundary Aquifers: Scientific and Data-oriented Perspective”, stressing importance of zoning within- and prioritization among transboundary aquifers.    

Reflections on the IAH Congress 2019

In general, the IAH congress confirmed the richness of groundwater research, in particular technical aspect of it. Much less attention was paid to groundwater governance and especially the interface between science, policy and practice. All groundwater-related issues have their social, economic, environmental, policy and often political aspect. At the congress, the international groundwater research community showed its strength. However, the main challenge is to bring outcomes of the research to practice through effective governance in order to slow down ever-increasing depletion and pollution of aquifers worldwide.