Below is a selection of recent and upcoming activities. We welcome suggestions – email with your enquiry.

JPI Urban Europe call on Urban Transformation Capacities

The JPI call is now open on Urban Transformation Capacities.  More information on this call and key themes can be found here:

The ERA-NET Cofund Urban Transformation Capacities (ENUTC) invites researchers, urban government authorities, – including cities and municipalities, – businesses, civil society and other stakeholders to build transnational consortia to create innovation and research projects that enable and support capacity building for urban transformations.

IWA conference 2021 and 2022

The IWA 2020 conference has now been re-scheduled to September 2022, with a new programme. There is also a significant virtual conference planned for Summer 2021 – more details to follow.

IAH Congress in 2021 – Abstract Deadlines

The IAH will be holding not one, but two congress meetings in 2021!

To find out more to each event, please follow the links above.  The Urban Groundwater Network will be looking to hold at least one virtual meeting in 2021 – more details to follow.

Abstract deadlines for these events are:

28 February 2021 – 47th IAH congress, Brazil

21 March 2021 – 48th IAH congress, Belgium


Call for Papers & Proposal Form – GWSI Paper Series

2021 Theme: Water Security and Cities – Integrated Urban Water Management

Proposals are due by Friday, March 12th, 2021

This year, IWRA is continuing its collaboration with UNESCO International Centre for Water Security and Sustainable Management (i-WSSM), and inviting proposals for the 2021 ‘GWSI Paper Series’ on Water Security and Sustainable Development Goals.  This year’s theme will focus on “Water Security and Cities – Integrated Urban Water Management”.

Researchers from international organisations, government agencies, research institutions, non-profit institutions, and the private sector are welcome to send proposals for their papers by March 12th.   Selected papers will be published as part of the ‘GWSI Paper Series’ by UNESCO i-WSSM and UNESCO Headquarters.  Authors of chosen papers will be invited to present their work at an international event, such as Korea International Water Week (KIWW) or the World Water Forum.

To learn more about this call, the list of themes, the terms of reference, and the submission process, please visit:

Groundwater in focus – IWA article series

Articles 2020

Over 2019 and 2020 the International Water Association (IWA) Groundwater Management Specialist Group worked to publish a series of articles in the IWA Source Magazine examining:

Urban groundwater monitoring – key requirements for networks and underpinning stakeholder relationships. Authors: Stephen Foster, Radu Gogu and Julia Gathu.

Growth in Private Wells in urban areas – experiences and lessons from four Indian cities on policy and investment approaches needed. Authors: Mohammad Faiz Alam and Stephen Foster.

Climate change – the role of groundwater in supporting climate resilience. Authors: Stephen Foster, Julia Gathu, Michael Eicholz and Ricardo Hirata

The articles draw together a range of stakeholders perspectives.   Access to the articles are here:

Groundwater Management Specialist Group


IWA webinar – Groundwater – A Hidden Resource and opportunity for water utility climate resilience

Webinar 2020

IWA webinar – ‘Groundwater – A Hidden Resource: a hidden opportunity for water utility climate resilience’

The International Water Association (IWA) Groundwater Management Specialist Group held a webinar in October 2020 as part of the Climate Smart Utilities Programme.  This webinar looked at the potential role of groundwater for water utilities and greater climate resilience.    The overall messages from this webinar highlight the potential role of groundwater resources to help contribute to developing increased climate resilience in water supplies, but that much greater understanding of aquifer systems and how effective and sustainable conjunctive management of surface water ans groundwater resources can be realised.  A series of recommendations is made by the webinar and the IWA groundwater management group.

The link to the webinar can be accessed here:

IWA website:

IWA Vimeo channel: (download options available)


IWA Climate Smart Utilities Programme

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship on Urban water resilience

Adrian Healy at Cardiff University has been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to continue to develop research and collaborations in understanding urban water resilience.  The work will be focusing on four cities in sub-Saharan Africa – Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Lagos and Windhoek – which have all experienced water shortages as well as strong demographic and economic growth.  Detailed longitudinal research will examine how an individual’s lack of access to reliable public water supplies can affect the choices they make as well as the long-term resilience of the supplies that are available.  For more information to the fellowship please follow this link.  The IAH urban groundwater network looks forward to developing collaborations with Adrian in this work.

Image – Cape Town. Copyright Cardiff University


IAH-Ineson Lecture 2019 – Urban Groundwater

London, UK, 25 November

This year’s Ineson lecture of the IAH British Chapter is centred on the theme of Urban Groundwater resources.

The Ineson Lecture will be given by Mario Schirmer (Assoc. Prof at Centre for Hydrogeology, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland) with a series of supporting talks on different aspects of urban groundwater research.

Posters relating to the presentation of new scientific understanding of key processes of urban groundwater resources, quality and contamination impacts are welcomed, as well as interdisciplinary presentations on urban planning or groundwater management and use.

More information and registration page is now available here.



2019 – activities review

IAH congress 2019- urban groundwater conference sessions

Understanding key future challenges and opportunities for urban groundwater

This years 46th IAH Congress was held in Malaga, Spain (22-27 September). With over 700 groundwater specialists and wider practitioners attending it was a stimulating event.

This year we had three urban-focused conference sessions, all of which saw a strong attendance of 45-65 delegates . Research was presented from all over the world – including, but not limited to: Canada, Norway, Japan, Slovenia, New Zealand, UK, Netherlands, India, Italy, Africa.  The key re-occurring themes of research presented centred on:

  • The potential use of geothermal energy systems in urban areas, and the management approaches required to harness these opportunities with multiple competing demands of aquifers;
  • Implementing integrated water management in cities, using sustainable urban drainage schemes (SuDs) and the value of groundwater storage;
  • Groundwater quality issues in a range of urban geographies – including temperature, as pharmaceutical and microbiological contamination;
  • Impacts of a range of subsurface infrastructure, including issues of subsidence and managing major new underground tunnelling.

The full programme is available here:


IAH-UGN Annual Network meeting 2019

Our 2019 Annual Network members meeting was held this year 24 September, on the second day of the IAH congress in Spain.  Due to parallel events, it wasn’t possible for a full AGM – however, the meeting still provided useful discussion as to key events and agendas the UGN should aim to link to in the next years (2020-22).

The IAH UGN is continuing to develop good linkages with the newly formed IWA groundwater committee.   In addition to this, the AGM agreed the UGN should try to develop an increasing presence with the following networks and initiatives – either by co-chairing sessions, joint workshops, shared communications or developing partnerships.

  • Resilient Cities agenda and programme
  • EuroGeoSurveys Expert Urban Working Group
  • ERAnet
  • other IAH commissions and the IWA groundwater committee

Other actions identified were to look into the possibility of multi-lingual translation of the IAH UGN webpages.

IAH urban groundwater session at IAHS Groundwater Quality Conference 2019

The 10th international GQ conference was held 9-12 September in Liege University, Belgium and presented a wide range of European, African and American research into groundwater quality.

This year the IAH Urban Groundwater Network co-organised a session at GQ2019 this year focusing on urban groundwater.  A coherent range of abstracts were presented from African and European urban research perspectives – discussing some key themes of:

  • Sustainability of groundwater use in African cities, and
  • Key rural-urban groundwater interactions

Callist Tindimugaya gave an opening keynote which provided a pertinent insight of the value of catchment-based approaches to urban groundwater management, and how these can form a valuable lens to aid groundwater management across the urban-rural interface.  This theme was picked up by many of the individual presentations within the session.

Work presented by the AfriWatSan research consortium and from regional work in Mozambique and Maputo presented a more detailed look to sustainability of urban groundwater use, from a quality perspective, and what management approaches may help support the sustainability of use .  The perspective from European urban research, and Canada, provided a very interesting comparison and insight to the session themes.  A commonality of themes and management approaches emerged from the presentations across the different urban geographies.

The full programme and access to the presentations will be available from the conference website.



ICLEI Resilient Cities Conference 2019

Bonn, GERMANY, 26-28 June

IWA Groundwater Management Specialist Group partnered with IAH urban groundwater network and BGR for a joint presentation in the main conference programme in this 10th annual global forum on urban resilience and adaptation.



2018 – activities review

IAH-UGN congress session 2018

Daejeon, KOREA, 9–14 September

Understanding of Asian urban groundwater resources – key challenges and opportunities

This focused session facilitated discussion on urban groundwater characterisation particularly within Asia, but also examples from worldwide. Discussions from the presentations and sessions centred on hydrogeological characterisation of urban environments, and resilience of resources in terms of quantity and quality. Wider presentations on urban groundwater were present through the congress in Korea, highlighting the interest and need for further research and engagement in this cross-cutting science area.

30th Nordic Water Conference 2018

Bergen, NORWAY, 13–15 August

Hydrology and water resources management in a changing world

The 30th Nordic Hydrological Conference was held this year in Bergen, Norway. Attended by approximately 130 water professionals from around the world, as well as the Nordic countries, there were three parallel sessions for the three day conferences. Talks centred on improving understanding of optimal design of green roofs in Nordic climates for storage and retention of high levels of rainfall; new groundwater and soil monitoring networks across Norway and Sweden to help understand groundwater resilience to increased climate variability in Nordic regions; and improving the understanding the linkages between bedrock and quaternary hydrogeology.   There was a strong focus throughout the conference on stimulating cooperation between research institutions, and developing understanding how hydrogeological and hydrological knowledge can improve urban planning approaches.

Graphic: Holly McKelvey


Bryggen UNESCO world heritage site – Sustainable Urban drainage scheme

A field visit to the Bryggen UNESCO world heritage site gave insight to the unique sustainable urban drainage (SuD) scheme that has been recently installed in the centre of Bergen to protect and maintain groundwater levels beneath the world heritage site. The scheme is designed to enhance groundwater recharge beneath to the site, to maintain groundwater levels and reduce subsidence of the historical reclaimed coastal ground. The scheme took two years to design and construct in the highly sensitive world heritage site, and comprises capture of runoff water from an upstream area of the catchment. This water, alongside roof water harvesting, is then distributed and infiltrated to the site through a rainwater garden and series of swales (see photo), permeable street surfaces, and subsurface infiltration galleys. A fascinating insight the complexity of designing SuDs in key areas, and very visible reminder of the vital role groundwater plays in our cities.

Selected full papers from the conference will be available in a Special Issue of the Hydrology Research Journal.

Photographs: Bryggen UNESCO world heritage site sustainable urban drainage scheme

Groundwater Futures in Urban Africa – 14th March 2018

Seminar, Water Research Institute, Cardiff University

This seminar was hosted by Water Research institute at Cardiff University, and IAH UGN – and led a focused discussion and exploration of issues of access to groundwater supply in urban areas, in particular discussing resilience and distributional equity. Key discussions centred on the need to understand and manage rural-urban interface; and the rising proliferation of privately-commissioned boreholes, and unimproved hand-dug wells for domestic water supply in African cities with rapid rates of urban migration and growth of informal dwellings in peri-urban areas, and inability of centralised utilities infastructure to keep pace.  There are complex issues of managing groundwater and surface water resources in this context, equity of access, and sustainability of services, particularly in the lack of sanitation infrastructure, and the impact of this on different communities.

Please contact Dr Adrian Healy for more information:


2017 activities

UGN network meeting 2017

Dubrovnik, CROATIA, 26 September

IAH UGN annual network meeting discussions, Dubrovnik, Croatia 2017. Image: Oleksandra Pedchenko.

IAH UGN annual network meeting discussions, Dubrovnik, Croatia 2017. Image: Oleksandra Pedchenko.








The annual Urban Groundwater Network meeting was held this year at the Dubrovnik IAH 2017 Congress. The session was well attended with significant new members, and there were very productive discussions about how IAH urban network can work to help increase awareness of the importance of urban groundwater resources within urban planning, utility services, and the importance of urban groundwater resources in achieving the SDGs.

IAH-UGN congress session 2017

Dubrovnik, CROATIA, 26 September

There was a special Urban groundwater conference session at the IAH Dubrovnik Congress 2017. The session was well attended and presentations within the session highlighted the importance of developing better understanding of integrated management of urban groundwater resources to maintain supply, and manage future demands in all regions of the world. In addition to managing future sustainable abstraction in urban areas with growing demands, issues of saline intrusion, functionality of urban groundwater supplies, and integrated planning approaches were all discussed and highlighted by the session presenters and discussions.

IAH congress, Dubrovnik, Croatia 2017. Image: Oleksandra Pedchenko.

IAH congress, Dubrovnik, Croatia 2017. Image: Oleksandra Pedchenko.

Urban Hydrogeology workshop 2017

Bucharest, ROMANIA, 13–14 March

This special workshop co-organised by IAH UGN and the EU COST Action SUBURBAN final conference, was well attended with presentations given from over 12 countries across NW and Eastern Europe. Discussion and scientific content of the workshop presentations were focused: to managing recharge and demand in urban areas, monitoring and regulating geothermal energy use in urban areas, novel approaches of integrating urban groundwater and utility infrastructure planning and management, and new understanding developed from groundwater modelling in three European cities.

The Joint IAH UGN and EU COST Action workshop ‘ Urban hydrogeology’, at the SUBURBAN final conference, Bucharest, Romania, March 2017. Image: EU COST SUBURBAN Action.

The Joint IAH UGN and EU COST Action workshop ‘ Urban hydrogeology’, at the SUBURBAN final conference, Bucharest, Romania, March 2017. Image: EU COST SUBURBAN Action.

IAH UGN conference session 2016

Montpellier, FRANCE, 23–29 September

There was strong attendance to the Urban Hydrogeology conference session at the 2017 IAH Congress with over 80 attending, and more unfortunately had to be turned away to the session numbers significantly exceeding the room capacity! Several presentations covered topics of integrating urban groundwater management with utility services, and presence of pharmaceuticals in urban groundwater resources.
Full abstracts from the session are available for download.