Apart from glaciers, groundwater is quantitatively the most significant freshwater resource on the planet Earth. At the same time, it is most often used and preferred drinking water resource. Groundwater ensures the continuity of streams during dry periods and the survival of numerous wetlands and oasis, which sustain biodiversity.
Groundwater is specific in many ways. The velocity of groundwater flow is generally several orders of magnitude less than the velocity of river streams. A solute in an aquifer remains exposed for a long time to various physical and biochemical processes that take place in groundwater, the aquifer skeleton, or at the interfaces between different phases (water, skeleton, air).
The self-purification potential of an aquifer through various processes leads to the changing of water quality in the aquifer, usually in a positive direction. The aerobic condition of an aquifer is also a very important factor. In principle, the self-purification conditions of aerobic aquifers are superior to those of anaerobic aquifers. Besides, the ageing of abstraction facilities is generally much slower in aerobic than in anaerobic mediums. We consider this subject to be of great significance for the upgrading of the implementation of bank filtration and artificial recharge methods, as well as in general, for the improvement of technology for well construction and maintenance.
The importance and nature of groundwater resources call for mankind to act at global, regional, and local levels. Groundwater management requires appropriate legislation, infrastructure and socio-economic frameworks, as well as proper planning and implementation of engineering measures. It is also neccessary to consider climate change issues and its impact on groundwater management.
Aquifers in a zones of large urban areas are under strong influence from human activities, so management of urban groundwater basins is an emerging issue.
Opening of the IWA Specialist Groundwater Conference, 2011