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

 Milan Dimkić1 and Radisav Pavlović1

1 Jaroslav Černi Institute for the Development of Water Resources, 80 Jaroslav Černi Str., 11226 Pinosava - Belgrade, Serbia; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



The Specialist Groundwater Conference held in Belgrade in September 2011 was IWA’s first one of this kind. The Conference addressed the current status of this important natural resource. Due to overuse and other factors, groundwater is being constantly depleted and degraded. Thus it needs to be preserved and protected and its use and protection adapted to the ongoing global changes including climate change, natural and social constraints, and potential socio-economic changes. It was held under the auspices of the Serbian Government and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. IWA, IAWD, ICPDR and IAH have all made major contributions during the preparatory stage of the Conference. The main organisers of the Conference were Jaroslav Černi Institute for the Development of Water Resources and Belgrade Water Supply and Sewerage Company. The Conference was attended by more than 300 participants, of which some 230 were from Serbia and the rest from 22 foreign countries. Some 60 papers were presented during the Conference. Keynote and overview papers on some areas were presented by invited speakers, covering four main themes: groundwater component of water management plans for large river basins; aerobic state of groundwater and processes driven by the aerobicity level; impacts of climate change; management of urban groundwater basins. The Conference used and developed the outcomes of the earlier IWA Regional Conference entitled “Groundwater Management in the Danube River Basin and other Large River Basins”, held Belgrade in 2007. The next Conference is scheduled to take place in 2015, at the same venue.

Keywords: IWA, specialist groundwater conference, groundwater management, water quality, aerobic conditions, anthropogenic threats, climate change impacts






Groundwater represents the largest accumulation of water in the world, accounting for more than 97% of all fresh water on Earth (not counting glaciers and permafrost). Groundwater maintains river levels during periods of low flow, and supports a large number of ecosystems. Most oases and springs in arid zones rely on groundwater. Groundwater is a source of drinking water supply for more than half of humanity. However, following a period of abundance, when water demand was easily met, we entered a period of depletion of water resources. This depletion resulted from population growth, industrial development, and increasing use of water for irrigation and other human needs. The main signs of depletion are water quality pressures and degradation, and excessive use of water from certain resources.

The need for sustainable and adaptive water management has been identified as a means for ensuring ongoing protection and conservation of water resources, and adaptation to global constraints and changes. These primarily include climate change, natural and social constraints, and potential socio-economic changes in the future. Although efforts are being made to mitigate man's role in climate change, such as by the 2005 Kyoto Protocol, it is evident that there are different statements with regard to the approach to be followed, as the 2009 Copenhagen Summit has shown. At the same time, there are demands for adaptive water management, such as those voiced at the 5th World Water Forum in Turkey in 2009, aimed at developing our ability to adapt to the challenges, constraints and changes. The achievement of the necessary sustainability and adaptivity of water management requires the efforts of and cooperation between global institutions such as the IWA, UNESCO, FAO, the World Bank, and others. Also needed is a concerted effort of regional organisations and managers of large river basins and groundwater basins, for example the ICPDR, IAWD, ORASECOM, the Joint Commission for the Study and Development of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, and others. There is increasing insistence on joint, both bilateral and multilateral, management of transboundary water bodies.