News.Oct 02, 2020

SIWI pushes for better groundwater governance

Groundwater makes up 99 per cent of the world’s liquid freshwater resources and it provides drinking water for close to half the global population.

Our dependence on groundwater is expected to increase drastically as populations grow and the climate changes have impact on rainfall, and it keeps being more and more exploited in an unsustainable manner. Since groundwater is neither monitored on par with surface water, nor efficiently governed, it can easily get over-abstracted and contaminated without having a sufficient understanding of how critical is this development.

“The attention to what is happening to our precious groundwater suffers from it being part of the underground” says Dr Jenny Grönwall, Advisor, Water Policy & Rights at the Water Resources Department of SIWI. “Nonetheless, we know enough to take action today, together with policy makers as well as with users on the ground who depend on those reserves for their everyday life.”

As an expert on groundwater governance, she participates actively in various initiatives seeking to raise awareness of the role of groundwater. Together with her colleague Alice Jaraiseh, Jenny Grönwall represents SIWI in the GRIPP Initiative. This form of international collaboration is extremely important, according to Jenny Grönwall. GRIPP is a global partnership of 30 international institutions, coordinated by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) working since 2016 to build momentum and mass around solutions for groundwater in sustainable development.

“More people need to be aware of the crucial role of groundwater for many different dimensions of sustainable development. We are now gearing up to 2022 when groundwater will be the focus since it will be theme of the year for UN-Water, including its World Water Development Report,” Jenny Grönwall says. “Groundwater will naturally also form part of the overarching theme for the World Water Week that year.”

SIWI also collaborates with the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) on their Pan-African Groundwater Program (APAGroP), where Jenny Grönwall contributes knowledge on urban groundwater issues.

Learn more about Groundwater

Groundwater has been out of sight and out of mind for too long. When we protect groundwater we save lives and ecosystems, improve health, reduce hunger and tackle climate change all at once.

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Illustration by SIWI