More than 700 groundwater scientists, managers and development actors have issued a Call for Action to manage and conserve the world’s groundwater supply by 2030.
It calls for a Global Groundwater Summit in 2022 and for sustainability plans to be implemented for over-exploited aquifers.
More than 700 groundwater scientists, managers and development actors have issued a Call to Action to manage and conserve the world’s groundwater supply by 2030. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is leading the Call, highlighting that groundwater is frequently mismanaged and urging action to match the SDGs’ timeline of 2030. The joint statement calls for a Global Groundwater Summit in 2022 and for sustainability plans to be implemented for over-exploited aquifers.
IWMI hosts the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP), which is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). The research organization emphasizes that groundwater provides drinking water for more than two billion people and more than 40% of water for irrigation worldwide. It warns that groundwater is currently being mismanaged and has not received due attention in the SDGs, although groundwater is critical for drinking water supply (SDG 6), agriculture and food security (SDG 2), and energy generation (SDG 7).
The Call to Action features three main agenda items:
- draw attention to groundwater sustainability through a UN World Water Development Report and a Global Groundwater Summit in 2022;
- apply sustainability guiding principles by 2030 to managing groundwater, from local to global scales; and
- invest in groundwater governance, through planning for nature-based solutions, capacity building, awareness raising, and monitoring and reporting systems.
The Call highlights that groundwater plays a major role in achieving the SDGs and is a critical factor in bolstering resilience to the negative impacts of climate change, but is currently at risk from neglect, lack of understanding and poor management practices. It notes that less wealthy populations in developing countries are most at risk from falling water tables and contamination of groundwater sources.
IWMI presents research indicating high levels of need in developing countries: for example, 60% of India’s groundwater aquifers are in critical condition, while the rapid growth in cities and urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa will require a quadrupling of water supply services by 2035, much of which will need to come from groundwater.