IAH-SA Chapter

The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) is an international scientific and educational organization that aims to promote research and understanding of the proper management and protection of groundwater for the common good throughout the world. IAH provides a valuable forum for scientists and engineers working in the fields of hydrogeology and groundwater resource planning, management, and protection who have a broad interest in and an international perspective on groundwater resources and hydrogeological issues. IAH is incorporated as a charitable organization in the United Kingdom; the main office of IAH is located in London. IAH is also affiliated with the International Union of Geological Sciences.

Globally, groundwater makes up 12% of all fresh water on the Earth. Rivers and lakes only make up 1%. The rest of fresh water is in our ice caps. This indicates the crucial importance of managing groundwater responsibly. Currently, there are 2 billion people in water-stressed countries, with 50% of the world’s population drinking from unsafe water resources living in Africa. It is estimated that by 2030, Africa’s population will increase by approximately 40%. So the big question is where will the food supply come from and where will the additional water for irrigation and potable supply come from?

The information above clearly highlights the urgent need for increased agricultural output, yet for irrigated crops, the access to volumes of water resources is finite. As such, the water used for agriculture will have to be used more and more efficiently. The same comment is also applicable to the industrial, commercial and domestic use of groundwater. Groundwater exploration and development will have to proceed with a strong emphasis on securing sustainable and authorised supplies. For these reasons, hydrogeologists have to network within this country, as well as be exposed to and familiar with leading edge developments in groundwater globally.

In order to protect and adequately manage groundwater, its critical we absorb the best thinking and practices and apply them locally to meet this requirement of long-term sustainable use of groundwater.

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