Groundwater is the most abundant and widespread source of liquid freshwater on the planet. It is also currently a threatened water resource in terms of quantity and quality due to climate and anthropogenic stresses. Meanwhile, there are aquifers that remain untapped in regions or periods of water scarcity.
Hydrogeology studies the occurrence, movement, and quality of groundwater as a basis for understanding this essential natural resource, providing the scientific support for the management of its diverse environmental and anthropogenic uses.
Geoethics is an emerging scientific field that deals with the ethical, social and cultural implications of geosciences knowledge, research, practice, education and communication, and with the relevant social role and responsibility of geoscientists in conducting their activities while interacting with the Earth system, groundwater being one of its undisputed important components.
The wide diversity, scale, significance and increasing magnitude of the interactions of anthropogenic behaviour with aquifers and groundwater, involving some degree of conflict of values or interests, decisions and demands from the agents involved, such as groundwater scientists, policymakers, managers, organizations, professionals, and citizens, call for a responsible and human approach to groundwater use and management.
This joint congress emerges from an Agreement for Cooperation signed on 5 April 2017 about common grounds by the IAH – International Association of Hydrogeologists (iah.org) IAPG – International Association for Promoting Geoethics (geoethics.org). Following its terms, the international Congress "GEOETHICS & GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT: THEORY AND PRACTICE FOR A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT" – GEOETH&GWM’20 – aims for the first global approach on the vast subjects of Geoethics in Groundwater management and its recognized need of reflection for correct and prudent actions.
GEOETH&GWM’20 convenes groundwater specialists, scholars and professionals, as well as educators, students, and early career colleagues in the first specialized world forum for discussing theory and practice, sharing values, knowledge, research, educational projects, best practices and strategies aiming at the responsible integrated management of groundwater resources for a resilient and sustainable future.
In a world asking for answers, GEOETH&GWM’20 has the goal to present a scientific and professional community capable of proposing synergetic cultural and practical answers to complex problems affecting society.
IAH and IAPG delegated the task to organize this Congress to the Executive Council of the Portuguese Chapter of IAH (AIH-GP) who appointed the Organizing Committee (OC), which I am honoured to chair, with representatives of the co-organizer ISEP - School of Engineering, Polytechnic of Porto, and the Spanish Chapter of IAH (IAH-SC). A transdisciplinary Scientific Committee (SC) will assist the OC in assuring the quality of the event, the correct framework of its general themes, and the quality of the sessions and activities.
The OC and the SC calls to your appreciated participation to take stock of philosophical and legal approaches, analysis of case studies from around the world, management models or proposals, educational views, innovative transdisciplinary knowledge, research or projects on responsible groundwater management.
At this early stage we are already honoured to count on a continuously expanding group of Supporting Organizations with leading roles in fields related to the study and management of groundwater. Sponsors at several levels of involvement are called to help reduce costs and to allow a fair fee for a selection of economically disadvantaged delegates. Public recognition of Supporting Organizations and Sponsors is well deserved.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic and consequent restrictions, the OC of the GEOETH&GWM’20 congress decided the following: i) the conference is changed from presential to online; ii) conference date will be kept (18-22 may 2020); iii) the fees were adjusted; iv) we are preparing a book of proceedings to be published by Springer supported by an outstanding scientific committee (Science, Engineering, Law, Social Sciences, Geoethics, Environment); v) the conference headquarters still ISEP-School of Engineering, Porto in a closely support by ExOrdo Conference Software.
To our former motto “Leaving no one behind”, and given the dramatic times brought by COVID-19 risking to stall the ongoing efforts of groundwater progress in science and protection, we added "The Science must go on". This is our geoethical commitment to the groundwater and the wider community for whom we work hard. In this sense, the OC is working hard to develop a website platform to support the online event and preparing a landmark book of proceedings to be published by Springer. We count on your side of collaboration.
We warmly invite all of you concerned or interested in these exciting and important subjects to join us in a unique event for a foundational Conference on what has already been called Hydrogeoethics, a novel scientific field integrating all aspects of Geoethics in Groundwater theory and practice. We are looking forward your active participation. Be welcome to Porto and Portugal.
Chair of the Organizing Committee
Updated in March 13, 2020
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