Shill alert: I was involved in the GVI workshop from the beginning and am a
co-author of the final report. I am a member of NGWA and AWRA, and Technical Director of AWRA. I promoted the workshop in an April 2016 blog post.
Here is what I said in an earlier post:
So what’s the deal with the title, ‘Groundwater Visibility Initiative’? There are two components to my answer: 1) groundwater is physically invisible to humans – it’s underground and unless you’re in a cave or something, you can’t see it; 2) its lack of physical visibility has contributed greatly to its lack of visibility in manydiscussions of water policy, governance, and management. It’s not fully integrated into integrated water resources management.
The workshop report, agenda, and list of attendees:
To whet your appetite, here are the first few paragraphs of the report:
For most of the public, groundwater is out of sight and out of mind. Groundwater, and the boundaries that define it as a water management unit, are physically invisible to humans. Our inability to readily see groundwater contributes to groundwater’s lack of visibility in many discussions of water policy, governance, and management.
In many parts of the world, the failure to manage groundwater in an integrated, sustainable way could have severe consequences. Depleted and/or contaminated water reserves contribute to regional conflicts and create public health hazards. Subsidence causes significant damage to critical infrastructure such as roads and levees. Entire economies, based on water dependent agriculture and industry, are at risk.
Groundwater constitutes more than 95% of Earth’s unfrozen freshwater. Given its vast reserves, broad geographical distribution, generally good quality and frequent availability at or near the point-of-use, it has become the foundation of many water management systems for drinking water, irrigation, and municipal and industrial uses. Still, and despite its importance, groundwater is largely undervalued and narrowly perceived. Even while the interrelationship between groundwater and surface water is well established by science, institutions at all levels struggle to effectively incorporate these concepts into laws, regulations, and sustainable management.
List of findings and recommendations (each of these is followed by text in the report):
- Governing and managing groundwater requires working with people
- Data and information are keys
- Some “secrets” remain
- We need to take care of what we have
- Effective groundwater management is critical to an integrated water management portfolio that is adaptive and resilient to drought and climate change
- To be robust, agriculture, energy, environment, land-use planning, and urban development sectors policies must incorporate groundwater considerations
There is also a call to action listing tasks to be accomplished.
Enjoy, and stay tuned!
“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. ” – Carl Sagan