1. The IWA Specialist Groundwater Conference was held in Belgrade from 8 to 10 September 2011. This Conference was a continuation of the activities of the same organizers who in 2007 hosted the highly successful regional conference on Groundwater Management in the Danube River Basin and other Large River Basins.
2. The Conference was held under the auspices of the Serbian Government (the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management/Directorate for Water and the Ministry of Education and Science), the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, as well as the following international organizations: the International Water Association (IWA), the International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area (IAWD), and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR). UNESCO contributed through the presence of its officials.
The Jaroslav Černi Institute for the Development of Water Resources played a leading role in the planning and organization of the Conference. It was supported by a large number of organizations, companies, and individuals.
3. The Conference was very successful. Conference was attended by some 300 participants: approximately 230 from Serbia, while the rest from 22 foreign countries (Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Ghana, Germany, Iran, Italy, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro, Romania, Rwanda, The Netherlands, Spain, USA )
4. The goals of the Conference were to:
- Present recent experience in the development and implementation of the groundwater component of water management plans (large river basins, national programmes) – sustainable and adaptive management, insisting on socio-economic, technical and legislative aspects;
- Improve knowledge of the importance of the aerobic state of aquifers in different phases of groundwater resources management (planning, construction, operation and maintenance, monitoring, well-ageing, etc.);
- Promote necessity of bank filtration and artificially recharge to mitigate groundwater scarcity;
- Provide insight into the impact of climate change on groundwater resources and potential mitigation and adaptation measures; and
- Promote contemporary methods for the mitigation of anthropogenic influences on groundwater aquifers, especially within the large urban centres, coastal and transboundary areas.
The Conference themes were, as follows:
1) The preparation and implementation of the groundwater component of water management plans for large river basins;
2) The importance of the aerobic state of groundwater, and of the processes which are driven by the level of aerobicity;
3) Climate change and its impact on groundwater; and
4) Management of urban groundwater basins: mitigation of water quality impacts from anthropogenic threats.
All the thmes were successfully addressed. Some 60 papers dealing with above themes were presented. Keynote and overview papers on some areas are presented by invited speakers.
Under Theme 1, representatives from several global (IWA, UNESCO) and regional institutions (EU Commission, ICPDR, IAWD), as well as from certain countries (Iran, Canada, Austria, Romania, Serbia) present the current situation and various issues related to groundwater management.
Theme 2 addressed the increasingly important issue of aerobic state of groundwater and its impact on groundwater source protection and maintenance. A number of papers showed that a continuation of investigations in this particularly interesting area is certain.
Themes 3 and 4 include various issues of groundwater quantity and quality under forecasted climate changes (on global, regional and local level, including measures for mitigation and adaptation) and actual anthropogenic threats, and methods for determination and removal of specific pollutants.
5. The Programme and Scientific Committee will recommend 25 papers presented at the Conference to be published in the Water Science & Technology journal.
A number of keynote and invited presentations will be recommended for publication in the Water Research and Management journal, which should become a customary organ for the above-mentioned organizations to communicate their opinions and exchange ideas about water management.
6. Two workshops about groundwater management are proposed to be organized as part of the 2012 IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Busan, Korea:
Workshop 1: Important Processes for Alluvial Groundwater Resources Use and Protection
Workshop 2: Current Status and Trends in Groundwater Management
7. The Programme and Scientific Committee recommends to the IWA, IAWD and ICPDR to endorse the organization of the next groundwater management conference, which would be held in 2015 in Belgrade. The main organizers of the present Conference are prepared to host the next conference as well.
Programme and Scientific Committee
Prof. Dr. Milan Dimkić
Sava Centre, Belgrade 9 September 2011