The Fifth Indian National Groundwater Conference, organized by the Department of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH), is a significant event that brings together a diverse group of experts to address the critical issue of groundwater management in India. Scheduled for December 5-6, 2023, this conference is not just an academic gathering but a crucial confluence of ideas and strategies aimed at tackling one of the most pressing environmental challenges facing India today.
Groundwater, a vital resource for India’s sustenance, is under severe stress due to over-extraction and contamination. India is the largest user of groundwater in the world, accounting for over 25% of the global groundwater abstraction. This heavy reliance on groundwater meets more than 85% of rural water needs, over 50% of urban water requirements, and a significant portion of agricultural water demand. However, this rampant usage has led to alarming levels of depletion and quality degradation, posing a threat to food security and livelihoods in many regions.
The conference, in its fifth iteration, aims to shed light on the current state of groundwater resources in India and explore sustainable solutions. It will feature a pre-conference workshop on “Modeling and Management of Groundwater in Fractured Geologic Media” on December 4, 2023. This workshop is particularly relevant given the complex geologic conditions in India that significantly impact groundwater behavior and management.
Keynote speakers and participants will delve into various themes, including Hydro-geologic Characterization, Groundwater Assessment, Monitoring, and Management, Surface Water-Groundwater Interactions, Groundwater Modelling and Management, Fate and Transport of Contaminants in Subsurface, and Multi-Phase/Density Flow in Subsurface. These themes are critical in understanding the multifaceted nature of groundwater issues and the interdisciplinary approaches required to address them.
A notable aspect of the conference is its emphasis on cutting-edge research and technological advancements. Discussions will revolve around the application of geospatial technologies, IoT, and computational methods in groundwater monitoring and management. The conference also aims to address the challenges posed by climate change on groundwater resources, a topic of paramount importance given the increasing variability in weather patterns and its impact on water availability.
The conference is not just an academic exercise but a platform for policy formulation and capacity building. It will bring together policymakers, researchers, industry professionals, and students, fostering an environment of knowledge exchange and collaboration. The collaboration with the Association of Global Groundwater Scientists (AGGS) and other prominent institutions like NGRI Hyderabad, JNTUH College of Engineering, and BITS Hyderabad further enhances the conference’s stature and reach.
The Fifth Indian National Groundwater Conference at IITH is more than just a gathering of experts. It is a crucial step towards addressing the groundwater crisis in India. By bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, the conference aims to foster a comprehensive understanding of groundwater issues and pave the way for sustainable management practices that are crucial for the country’s future.