43rd IAH International Congress “Groundwater and society: 60 years of IAH”
On behalf of the French and German hydrogeologist communities, the French and the German National Chapters of the IAH are proud to host the 43rd IAH International Congress, and at the same time celebrate the existence of 60 years of IAH, in Montpellier, France, from 25th to 29th September 2016.
Already at the occasion of its 40th anniversary, John Day, the former vice-president of IAH, stated: “From small beginnings, and by its members’ persistent exertions, the Association has achieved a truly international stature and a professional reputation second to none, motivated only by its members’ desires to get to know each other and to share professional expertise despite the various political and economic barriers of the times.”
This statement is still true and our 60th anniversary again offers ample opportunities to reflect, take stock and to assess the current state of hydrogeology within societies worldwide. Increasing challenges and contributions of hydrogeologists to society will be a central topic at the conference in Montpellier. We welcome active participations of hydrogeologists and experts of related fields from all over the world.
President of the French IAH Chapter
Johannes A.C. Barth
President of the German IAH Chapter
2016 is a very special year for the International Association of Hydrogeologists as we reach the major milestone of the 60th anniversary of our founding in 1956. From small beginnings, IAH has grown into a truly worldwide scientific and professional association with just over 4100 members in 125 countries and 40 national chapters, fourteen scientific commissions and networks, a high quality journal, well-established book series and a programme of international scientific congresses, of which this one in Montpellier is the 43rd.
IAH grew rapidly during the 1980s and early 1990s as the importance of mapping and investigating groundwater resources became more widely recognised and the number of groundwater professionals increased. More recently, the increasing importance of managing groundwater resources and protecting aquifers from pollution have produced evolving scientific directions within hydrogeology. All of these changes are naturally reflected in the titles of IAH’s commissions, books and congresses. The changing emphasis has also become embedded in the IAH mission to further the understanding, wise use and protection of groundwater resources throughout the world. This manifests itself in the growing need for a responsible professional association to advocate for greater awareness of groundwater amongst policy makers, the general public and professionals in other disciplines. In developing the topics for this congress, the organisers wished to fully reflect the evolution of our science and profession, and to look ahead to future scientific and educational needs.
Throughout 2016 we will be recognising our 60th anniversary in a number of ways. The main international focus of our celebrations will be the congress here in Montpellier. Many of the IAH national chapters will be holding technical meetings, field visits or social events to acknowledge the anniversary at national level. Delving back into our history, membership in the early years of the Association was dominantly in Europe. French and German hydrogeologists in particular played defining roles during that time. It is entirely fitting, therefore, that having been hosted for our 50th anniversary in Dijon, the Association should celebrate its 60th by returning to France for the 43rd Congress, co-convened by IAH’s French and German Chapters.
It is hoped that as many as possible of IAH‘s members and friends reading this will join in the anniversary celebrations, either in Montpellier or nationally closer to home. A major anniversary such as this provides an opportunity to meet and reflect on past experiences but also to look forward. This congress provides an excellent opportunity to do that, and we look forward to seeing you in Montpellier.
Ken Howard, IAH President