Presentation of IWA Groundwater Specialist Conference 8-10 September 2011, Belgrade, Serbia - page 7

 

Theme 1: Preparation and Implementation of the Groundwater Component of Water Management Plans for Large Basins

Scheidleder & Liska (2011) discuss management of transboundary groundwater bodies under the ICPDR. Groundwater is of major importance in the Danube River Basin, as at least 50 million out of its 81 million inhabitants are served by drinking water from groundwater. To acknowledge this importance and to address the challenges of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Groundwater Task Group (GWTG) was established within the ICPDR framework in 2004 to tackle all relevant groundwater issues of basin-wide concern. The GWTG contributes to the transboundary harmonisation of the implementation of the WFD and the Groundwater Directive (GWD) of Danube River Basin concern; it provides the ICPDR with information on the status of groundwater and coordinates the monitoring programmes necessary to ensure that the appropriate information is available. The GW TG fosters and supports international coordination as required by the WFD and GWD and acts as a platform for facilitation and promotion of transnational coordination and harmonisation of their implementation by the ICPDR Contracting Parties.

Beside the identification of relevant GWBs, the GW TG dealt with groundwater related aspects of the analysis of pressures and impacts, the identification of significant water management issues, the report on establishing monitoring networks, and of the Danube River Basin Management Plan 2009, including the Joint Programme of Measures.

The paper also presents a summary on the 11 transboundary groundwater bodies of the Danube's basin-wide importance, briefly discusses the quality of the basin's groundwaters, and gives an outlook according to which it is foreseen to collect and present monitoring data for a set of parameters for each GWB of basin-wide importance every 6 years. The first collection started in 2010 in order to provide an overview of groundwater quality.

Zojer (2011) discusses innovation and efficiency aspects for meeting groundwater management challenges within the European water policy. The new position of that policy is based on a sustainable and efficient water use and at the same time on an innovative development of water technology. One of the instruments of the EC is "Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform WssTP", aimed to improve the efficiency of water research driven by industries enabling proper drinking water and sanitation services. The Pilot Programme of WssTP is an organisational structure covering research and technology development. Most effective is the "Member States Mirror Group MSMG", an associated body of the WssTP consisting of official delegates from Member States and Candidate Member States. The Joint Programme Initiative (JPI) on "Water Challenges in a Changing World" has the goal to harmonise national research programmes and to initiate public-public co-operation (JPI 2010). The research driven European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on "Water Efficient Europe" is considered as a synoptic "Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative" to ensure the availability of water for households, agriculture, industry and the environment.

Some of the challenges for water management with special regard to groundwater are: dramatic population increase by the year 2050, climate change induced disequilibria of ecosystems, high-frequency floods and droughts, reduced groundwater storage due to altered infiltration conditions, land use changes associated with a higher need for water for agriculture and in many cases with a decrease of natural groundwater recharge. Prospective solutions for meeting these challenges include: clear labelling of water withdrawal regarding the quality demands of end users; preferential use of groundwater for drinking purposes, due to the risk of airborne pollution to open water systems; mitigation and adaptation measures for responding to climate change impacts; managed groundwater recharge; trans-boundary water management requiring the establishment of an international convention on water allocation; effective disaster management that is recognising extreme hydrological events; risk assessment for groundwater protection; specific water treatment techniques; and development of appropriate quality assurance models, supplementary to the legal instruments (e.g. water law, drinking water decree, water quantity permitted to be utilised etc.).