Groundwater Quality from Global Perspective in Liege, Belgium


A side-event ‘Groundwater quality from a global perspective’ took place during the Groundwater Quality conference 2019  (September 8-12, Liege, Belgium). The event was organised to inform conference participants on various global groundwater quality activities, to provide a floor for discussion beyond cocoons and to encourage collaboration across the scales and borders. 

Groundwater quality needs to be understood at the local scale, but has a global impact: how large is this impact and why is it important? Obviously, we still do not know sufficiently about qualitative state of groundwater resources globally and about related trends. Hence, the key questions for the side event were: 

  1. How can the scientific community contribute more effectively to global assessment of groundwater quality? 
  2. What would an increased global knowledge and awareness bring back to the scientific community?

The event consisted of two parts: presentations and the panel discussion. The presentations were: 

  • Challenges of a regional groundwater quality assessment - Craig Simmons (NCGRT)
  • World Water Quality Alliance - Hartwig Kremer (UN Environment)
  • EU experience with regional groundwater quality assessment - Laurence Gourcy (BGRM)
  • Global mapping/modelling of arsenic in groundwater - Joel Podgorski (EAWAG)
  • IAH Groundwater Quality Commission - Dave Kreamer (IAH)

The presentations were short, informing and provided a framework for discussion. Due to delay in the conference programme, the panel discussion was rather short but at least the main message was shared with the audience: Groundwater quality is not only about geology and chemistry, it has also a social, economic, environmental, policy, institutional and political aspect. Groundwater quality research needs better embedding (i.e. stronger engagement and advocacy) in broader societal and environmental issues in order to increase knowledge on qualitative state of groundwater resources and improve it. In meantime, we are increasingly deteriorating quality of our groundwaters.       

IGRAC is very grateful to its partners who supported IGRAC’s idea to organise this side event and contributed through the presentations and discussion.