WHAT IS ISGSD?

ISGSD is a functional network where different stakeholders including GO, NGO and academic institution collaborate to share information on emerging issues in connection to groundwater management. ISGSD intends to create a common platform for the sector professionals for exchanging new ideas, views and knowledge. A global platform that stimulates initiatives for the advancement of sciences related to groundwater.

The ISGSD will contribute to information, training and research and will lead to an increased capacity of professionals in the area of hydrogeology, water resources management and related fields. Its creation will lead to improved management and protection of groundwater resources through the collaboration of water resources professionals from universities, public water institutions, non-governmental organizations, public/private sector professionals, international funding agencies and other relevant institutions.

The ISGSD technically focus on groundwater but recognizing the importance of integrated water resources management also requires activities in public health, legal, economic, policy and social realms of water resources development, management and protection.

Fields of interest will cover the technical, environmental, legal, economic, social, and gender aspects of groundwater resources management. The activities will be centered on groundwater use, contamination and protection (without departing from the larger framework of integrated groundwater resources management).

The ISGSD is included within the broader purpose of improving sustainable development, to fulfill the basic human needs, to protect the environment, good management and respect to human rights.

The various activities will focus on:

  • Improving capacity of the sector professionals including GO and NGOs and academic institutions.
  • Sharing state-of-the-art knowledge (new publications, congresses, fieldwork results) in the area of common interest.
  • Discussing problems and questions posed by fellow members, the politicians, international aid and technical cooperation agencies, general public or
  • potential clients and members.
  • Create a platform for regular international congresses (proposed biannually) with the name of International Congress Groundwater for Sustainable Development (ICGSD) as well as regional conferences organized locally by the regional or individual country chapters of the ISGSD.
  • Another component in the spectrum of ISGSD activities is to prepare strategies for joint research and advisory activities of the Communities of Experts.

WHY ISGSD?

Water is an integral part of the environment and its availability is indispensable to the efficient functioning of the biosphere. Water is also of vital importance to all socio-economic sectors? human and economic development simply is not possible without a safe, stable water supply. On the other hand, water has also a destructive potential. Extreme events may have an impact not only on human society but also on the aquatic and terrestrial environments. Water resources must be seen in the overall context of development.

The water resources especially in the developing countries are subject to increasing stress both in terms of quantity as well as quality. In recent decades many surface waters have become highly contaminated with domestic and industrial wastes as well as urban and agricultural runoff. Exponential population growth has led to many urban populations now nearing or exceeding a million. Most rural areas depend solely on groundwater, for urban areas groundwater becomes increasingly important. The high dependence on groundwater will increase even further in the next decade due to severe limitations on the availability of reliable quantities of surface water and its continuous degradation.

Groundwater is often the primary source for domestic and industrial water supply. Groundwater also supports the major demand from agriculture by providing large quantities of irrigation water, especially in zones with rather dry climate where crop production without irrigation is not possible. Groundwater plays a key role in keeping wet ecosystems sustainable and maintaining a suitable environment for human settlement. To gain full benefit from groundwater, substantial efforts are needed to investigate the groundwater systems and to organize their rational exploitation. However, attention is not only required for its exploitation, but also for controlling a wide range of problems related to groundwater. World-wide it is observed that contamination or salinization threatens the groundwater’s suitability for drinking or for other intended uses; that groundwater is becoming excessively expensive or scarce if the stored volumes are depleted or exhausted; that land subsidence occurs as a consequence of groundwater withdrawal; and that landscapes may turn dry and desolate by the decline of shallow water tables. Most of these problems tend to develop rather slowly, but controlling them is difficult and many of them are practically irreversible.

Groundwater is in most parts of the world an extremely important natural resource, more important than most people realize. Especially significant predominantly for the developing countries is the need to manage effectively their own water resources while modernizing and integrating their economies. Such water resources management requires considerable technical expertise in hydrogeology and water resources management, which do not exist in a significant extent in most of these countries.

In the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the environment has been considered as one of the key points of the development agenda. It has also been acclaimed by most of the environment specialists, that groundwater is an important element of the environment that influences the changing ecological conditions of the globe.

Therefore, it is important to anticipate and recognize such problems in due time and to implement appropriate measures to control or mitigate them without delay. Many groundwater professionals believe that sharing knowledge and experience on groundwater matters on a worldwide scale is an effective strategy to identify and promote optimal approaches to the assessment, development and management of groundwater resources. This is what the International Society of Groundwater Resources for Sustainable Development (ISGSD) intends to facilitate.

On this global platform, the members of the ISGSD should enjoy all the benefits of global collaborative working, facilitated by the Information Technology carried out under the Society. The idea on the formulation of this International Society was crystallized as a wrap up of the newly concluded second International Groundwater Conference on Groundwater and Sustainable Development: Problems, Perspectives, and Challenges held in New Delhi, India between February 1–4, 2006.