Webinar on Sustainable Groundwater Management

Submitted by Richard Taylor | published 28th Nov 2022 | last updated 30th Jan 2023
A water pump in Zhangye

A water pump in Zhangye. Source: SDC

Introduction

In celebrating the 8+ years Sino-Swiss cooperation project “Rehabilitation and management strategies of over-pumped aquifers in a changing climate”, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design (GIWP) of the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, the Centre for Agricultural Research (CAR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in partnership with the Geneva Water Hub and the Dakar Water Hub, co-held a Webinar on Sustainable Groundwater Management.

More than 150 participants from different countries attended the webinar. The webinar is co-moderated by Prof. Yanjun Shen of CAR, Jean Willemin of Geneva Water hub and Dr. Liyan WANG of SDC China office.

This weADAPT article is an abridged version of the original webinar. Please access the webinars for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text. 

Speakers

Counsellor Nadia Benani, Head of SDC China office delivered the opening remark. Switzerland is engaged in the promotion of global water security, precondition of all societies in fighting poverty and developing sustainably. SDC is active in several countries around the globe to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 6, challenged by overuse of water resources and climate change. [This video presentation is in French; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English, or French.]

Dr. Paul Pavelic, Senior Researcher of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), first presented a handful of cases studies from countries of India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Australia. A diverse array of measures have been undertaken to address groundwater overexploitation and water security in different contexts, with adequate scientific evidence showing the positive impacts. [This video presentation is in English; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]

Dr. Yu Lili of GIWP shared the results of implementing the Action Plan of Groundwater Overexploitation Control in North China, which has incorporated comprehensive measures in water-saving, groundwater replenishment and legislative framework. At the end of her presentation, she also openly discussed the challenges ahead.  [This video presentation is in Chinese; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]

A group of cross-continental speakers gave a broad view on transboundary aquafer management in this session.

Jean Willemin introduced the session by indicating how water, as a potential source of conflict, can be a vehicle of cooperation, leading to the path of Blue Peace, highlighted by the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace. Recommendations of this panel inspired Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau to engage on transboundary cooperation on the Senegal-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin. [This video presentation is in English; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]

Dr. Gabriel de los COBOS, Head of the Geology and Groundwater Section of the Canton of Geneva, shared the 40 years successful cooperation between Switzerland and France. The Genevese Aquifer is the first historical agreement on a transboundary groundwater resource, as well as the pioneer case of artificial recharge management to address groundwater overexploitation. [This video presentation is in French; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]

Mr. Ababacar NDAO, member of Dakar Water Hub and former Secretary General of Organization for the Development of the Gambia River (OMVG) shared his insights on the gains of 50 years of transboundary cooperation on the Senegal River with (OMVS) and Gambia River with OMVG. With respect to groundwater, the four countries sharing the Senegal-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin have committed to a political process to establish an institutional arrangement, which may set one more example for the world with a case of two transboundary basin organisations supporting states groundwater management. [This video presentation is in French; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]

At the end of this session, Mrs. Elisabeth Lictevout, Director of the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre, presented a groundwater paradox case in the arid Northern Chile. [This video presentation is in English; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]

The final speaker is associate prof. LUO Jianmei of China Geo university. Mrs. LUO elaborated how cropping system, planting structure and water-saving technology may influence the food production in the North China Plain. Her presentation shed light on how to find balance between food security and water resources from long-term perspective. [This video presentation is in Chinese; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]

At the end of the Webinar, Mrs. WANG Jinsu, Director of Department of the International Cooperation, Science and Technology of the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, made a concluding remark, confirming the fruitful results generated in the Sino-Swiss cooperation, as well as from the webinar. [This video presentation is in Chinese; please scroll down to the webpage bottom for the complete webinar videos in English or French.]