Elevating diverse voices and groundwater research from around the world with Water Underground Talks

Elevating diverse voices and groundwater research from around the world with Water Underground Talks

By Tom Gleeson and Viviana Re

It has been a challenging year of a pandemic, economic collapse and an ever-increasing awareness of racism, all set against a backdrop of other global challenges including climate change and food security. We believe it is important to link groundwater with these challenges and to stay positive using our science and work as scientists to contribute to a better future.

We are recording a series of “Water Underground Talks” of groundwater experts from around the world to share their passions and their latest research. We aim for a critical yet positive and forward-looking perspective. In these videos, we promise that you will learn about passionate researchers from around the world, and their latest research on the connections between groundwater, climate, food and people. We also promise to elevate diverse voices and perspectives by focusing this series on scientists who identify as women and Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. We are partnering with various organizations including IGRAC, UNESCO, IAH, GRIPP and GIWS to help raise the profile of this initiative and distribute the videos.

Check out the video trailer, website or YouTube channel!

For instructors: Starting in January, we’re planning to release about ten videos throughout 2021 that can each be used as a weekly exercise for any undergraduate or graduate class on hydrogeology or groundwater hydrology. Each video will combine a brief interview about each scientists’ motivation, personality and impact with a short research talk with unanswered questions that can spur follow-up discussions in class. We hope that many people around the world will integrate these great new resources into their classrooms.

The people and topics that will be highlighted in these videos include:

  • Şebnem Arslan, Ankara University, Turkey on tracing the exciting underground journey of water molecules with isotopes (YouTube)
  • Alice Aureli, UNESCO, Paris, France on transboundary aquifers and the new initiatives to raise the profile of groundwater internationally
  • Juan Castilla-Rho, University of Technology Sydney, Australia on participatory modelling, social simulation and decision making for groundwater resource management
  • Joanna Doummar, American University of Beirut, Lebanon on characterization of karst systems in semi-arid Mediterranean regions: from monitoring to modelling (YouTube)
  • Inge de Graaf, Wageningen University, the Netherlands on the environmental limit of groundwater pumping
  • Dongmei Han, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, on how over-exploitation of groundwater has resulted in seawater intrusion and land subsidence in the North China Plain
  • Daniel Olago, University of Nairobi, Kenya on addressing challenges in sourcing for, development and management of groundwater supplies in arid and semi-arid lands
  • Debra Perrone, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA on leveraging hidden data to promote our understanding of groundwater sustainability (YouTube)
  • Veena Srinivasan, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, India will discuss data innovation and visualization of an invisible, common pool resource (YouTube)
  • Rim Trabelsi, Laboratory of Radio-Analysis and Environment, Tunisia who will discuss the groundwater-energy-food nexus approach
  • Karen Villholth, International Water Management Institute, South Africa will discuss groundwater, sustainable dev and nature-based solutions

This list is in alphabetical order by last name but the videos will be released as they are filmed throughout 2021.

Groundwater—the world’s largest freshwater store— is a life-sustaining resource that supplies water to billions of people, plays a central part in irrigated agriculture and influences the health of many ecosystems. Water Underground is a groundwater nerd blog written by a global collective of hydrogeologic researchers for water resource professionals, academics and anyone interested in groundwater, research, teaching and supervision. The blog, started by Tom Gleeson and managed by Xander Huggins, is the first blog hosted on both the EGU blogs and the AGU blogosphere.

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