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Call for abstracts

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The Congress theme for IAH 50 is Groundwater: A Matter of Scale. This theme combines scientific advances through local to global scale experiments and case studies, with those extending over various temporal scales. We invite participants from academia, civil society stakeholders, governments, industry, international organisations and non-governmental organisations who wish to present their work on the specified theme and subthemes to submit an abstract. We request the IAH Commissions and Networks to explore topics under the subthemes. The conference’s theme provides a broad topic of interest to direct the submissions of abstracts. However, we welcome all abstracts that advance our groundwater understanding.

Keynote presentations and pre-Congress workshops complement the congress theme. The congress has the following topics:

  • The connectedness of groundwater and planetary sciences
  • Catchment scale integrated surface water and groundwater studies
  • Scale aspects of groundwater flow and transport systems
  • Critical zone sciences – a multi-disciplinary, cross-scale science
  • Upscaling/downscaling techniques
  • Local-scale, pore-scale, and discreet scale
  • Polycentric groundwater governance systems
  • Improving shared sustainable use of groundwater resources that cross two or more jurisdictional borders

Under the theme of Groundwater: A Matter of Scale, we anticipate advances in the study of hydrogeology about:

  • physical, chemical, computer, numerical and conceptual models
  • field and laboratory studies covering local to global spatial scales
  • improving physical or chemical measurements in the field or laboratory
  • long-time trend data
  • the use of big data, remote sensing or artificial intelligence technologies
  • any groundwater-focused interdisciplinary scientifically sound studies contributing to our understanding of hydrogeology

The Congress theme links to the different Commissions and Networks of IAH in the scope of ‘matters of scale’. Cross-disciplinary studies should be deeply rooted in hydrogeological science.

The connectedness of groundwater and planetary sciences

This sub-theme explores the connectedness of groundwater to various parts of the Earth system across different scales and disciplines. It addresses the scale differences between fast processes at or above the surface of the planet and slower processes deeper within the Earth. Groundwater is the largest store of fresh water on Earth and is heterogeneously connected to several Earth System processes on different timescales (Gleeson et al., 2020). This includes the effects of variable scales on groundwater predictions.

Catchment scale integrated surface water and groundwater studies

This sub-theme deals with the conjunctive use of water resources. Conjunctive water resources management entails building a comprehensive knowledge database about hydrological processes occurring in surface and subsurface zones and their interactions at the watershed scale (Bizhanimanzar et al., 2020). Conjunctive use of surface and groundwater promotes sustainable use of water resources, including addressing the ever-increasing demands from competing users, which climate change exacerbates.

Scale aspects of groundwater flow and transport systems

This sub-theme explores methods to study groundwater flow and transport systems at local and regional scales. This includes mathematical analyses of the properties of flow systems, as well as field- and GIS-based methods to study the geological agency of regional groundwater flow (IAH, 2015). Due to the rapid expansion of the global population, urbanisation, industrialisation, agricultural production, and the economy, we now face the challenge of the negative impacts of contaminants of anthropogenic origin. The contaminants of emerging concern include (but are not limited to) microplastics, PFAS, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

Critical zone sciences – a multi-disciplinary, cross-scale science

As anthropogenic impacts increase in magnitude and scale, fundamental biogeographical processes that create and sustain ecosystem patterns change at an unprecedented rate. This is especially true in Earth’s Critical Zone, defined as the “permeable near-surface layer …from the tops of the trees to the bottom of the groundwater (Minor et al., 2020). This subtheme explores the Earth Critical Zone, where much of the Earth’s life-sustaining activities, such as food production and water quantity and quality regulation, take place.

Upscaling/downscaling techniques

New techniques and approaches: Aquifer parameters, such as hydraulic conductivity, are characterised at very small scales, but it becomes prohibitive or impractical to perform numerical simulations at such scales. This subtheme explores upscaling techniques and approaches. At the same time, advances in remote sensing missions, global circulation models (GCMs), social media and other internet-related platforms provide new groundwater data sources. The issue with remote sensing data and GCM models is that the spatial resolution is more suited for regional or global studies, whereas groundwater-related investigations are most needed locally. For local groundwater management, the data must be downscaled to a finer spatial resolution, a focus of the subtheme. On the other hand, limited or scarce groundwater time series data at both temporal and spatial scales create the need for new groundwater data sources.

Local-scale, pore-scale, and discreet scale

Improved techniques make it possible to model or visualise hydrogeology at scales down to water molecules or water-mineral interfaces. Wetting and drainage of water through pores and discreet fractures can be upscaled to inform local flow mechanisms better and allow predictions on groundwater sustainability, emphasising this subtheme.

Polycentric groundwater governance systems

Interaction between actors at different levels of governance: Good governance requires a proper institutional design so that stakeholders trust that the management and regulatory decisions about groundwater use are legitimate, fair, credible and predictable. The ideal institutional setup would integrate linkages and functions of groundwater management vertically between the national and local levels and horizontally at each level with other sectors and agencies impacting groundwater (FAO, 2016). This subtheme explores multi-level (or polycentric) groundwater governance systems.

Improving shared sustainable use of groundwater resources that cross two or more jurisdictional borders

This sub-theme explores the management of transboundary groundwater resources. For example, the assessment of transboundary aquifer systems will require the transition from a lithostratigraphic delineation to the use of groundwater-flow systems. This is, in addition, identifying and prioritising transboundary aquifers using socioeconomic and political criteria and improving their characterisation by using other variables in addition to their physical boundaries to evaluate the degree of transboundariness (Sanchez et al., 2018).

Abstract guidelines (as per Hydrogeology Journal guidelines)

  • Write in English. Do not use first-person narrative or personal pronouns
  • Concise and informative title.
  • The abstract body must be a maximum of 250- words.
  • The first sentences should state the importance of the work, the main result, the main conclusion, or the main point, followed by a statement of the problem, objectives, methods, results, and other conclusions.
  • The abstract should not contain any undefined abbreviations or unspecified references.
  • Please provide keywords.
  • Please follow this link for online submission of the abstract:
  • The online submission requires the following:
    • Title
    • Abstract body
    • Keywords
    • Topic selection
    • Author(s) information
    • Presenter information
    • Presenter preference: Oral or post

Scientific Committee