International Association of Hydrogeologists - Groundwater and society : 60 years of IAH

25-29th September, 2016

le Corum , Montpellier, France


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Keynote Speakers

Craig T. Simmons

National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Monday 26th 11h50-12h30 / Plenary session
Pasteur Auditorium

Professor Craig Simmons FTSE is a leading groundwater scientist, recognised for major national and international contributions to groundwater science, education and policy reform. Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, he is one of Australia’s foremost groundwater academics and has been a significant contributor to global advances in the science of hydrogeology for many years. He is Deputy Chair and member of the Australian Government’s Statutory Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC). He is also a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development. Professor Simmons is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology and Schultz Chair in the Environment at Flinders University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He is Deputy Chair of the Academy's Water Fo rum. Professor Simmons’ work has been recognised by numerous national and international research and teaching awards including the Anton Hales Medal for outstanding contributions to research in the Earth Sciences by the Australian Academy of Science. He was named the 2015 South Australian Scientist of the Year. Professor Simmons has served as an Editor and Associate Editor for numerous major international journals including Water Resources Research, Journal of Hydrology, Hydrogeology Journal, Groundwater, Environmental Modeling and Assessment and Vadose Zone Journal.


People and Groundwater: Anatomy of a Long-Term Relationship
Groundwater is inextricably linked with people and the world we live in. 
It is front and centre in critical contemporary issues about our environment, food and water security, coal seam gas and fracking, mining, energy and nuclear waste disposal. Groundwater supplies half of the world’s drinking water and nearly half of the water used for growing food.  Groundwater depletion and pollution are major global problems. Climate change and population growth will place additional stress on already stretched groundwater resources. 
This talk explores the challenges and opportunities for groundwater: spanning critical social, economic and environmental dimensions; to management; to policy; to science and research; to education and training and the vital links between them. 
Current and foreseeable groundwater problems are interesting, important and complex. To advance and solve these problems will require rigorous groundwater science, management and policy; the necessary capacity and capability; and the integration of complex and interdisciplinary social and biophysical data, knowledge and information.



Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management (iCAM) Centre, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Monday 26th 14h00-14h30  / Plenary session
Pasteur Auditorium

Tony Jakeman is Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Director of the Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management Centre, The Australian National University and leader of the Integration Program in the (Australian) National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. His main interest is in integration of the sciences and social sciences to inform and support water resources management through comprehensive model-based processes and methods. He has also been prominent in hydrologic and environmental systems analysis by: formalizing steps in the development and evaluation of models; promoting the important concept of identifiability of hydrologic models and when it matters; and by critically evaluating the role of complementary foundational methods for understanding model behavior and sources of uncertainty. Jakeman is a recipient of the Silver Medal of Masaryk University and the  Ray Page Lifetime Achievement Award from Simulation Australia. He is a Fellow of the Americ an Geophysical Union, the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society and the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand. He is also on Thomson-Reuters highly cited researcher list.


Thinking and modeling beyond the aquifer: integrating policy, socioeconomics, ecology and interest groups into groundwater science and management through model-based processes
Managing and supporting decisions about groundwater requires recognition of the interplay between many factors including policy and governance, surface water resources, economic and ecological impacts, social capacity and its acceptability. A central consideration must also be what is now known as deep uncertainty about the future, model and data uncertainty, and stakeholder conflicts. Modelling and the modelling process have a key role to support such integrated groundwater management.  For example scenario and participatory modelling can be used as a way of identifying and evaluating public and private adaptation options for policymakers and water users to achieve better biophysical and socioeconomic outcomes. It can also be used to share and integrate knowledge, gain trust and enhance adoption prospects. The talk will illustrate these concepts with examples from water resource projects in Australia where problem formulation, conceptual modeling, and numerical evaluation were used to support the identification of options among interest groups. It will conclude with a summary of the main challenges we face and achievable ways forward.



Hydrosciences Montpellier - President of the IAH French Chapter
Tuesday 27th 9h00-9h30 / Plenary session
Pasteur Auditorium

Michel Bakalowicz has a PhD in hydrogeology and a Doctorat ès Sciences naturelles from the Paris-6 University. His main research field is karst hydrogeology, geochemistry and isotopes. From 1995 to 2004 he was in charge of developing research and methodology projects on groundwater resources in karst areas at the French Geological Survey (BRGM). From 2004 to 2008, at the disposal of the Institute for Research for Developing Countries (IRD), in position at the Regional Centre for Water and Environnement (CREEN) as assistant head, at the Faculty of Engineering  (ESIB) of Université St Joseph de Beyrouth (USJ), Lebanon, in charge of research projects on groundwater in the Middle East and training groundwater specialists. Senior scientist in charge of research projects in co-operation with academic institutions in Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Canada, USA, China, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Expert for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for missions in Haïti, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Malta. Scientific co-ordinator of European projects on karst groundwater resources. Expert in several French and international scientific committees. Lecturer in several universities (Paris-6, Avignon, Montpellier and ESIB-USJ Beirut, Lebanon).
Retired since December, 2008, associated senior scientist at HydroSciences Montpellier. President of the IAH French Chapter (Comité Français d'Hydrogéologie)
Author of about sixty papers in international journals.


Karst aquifer resources of the Mediterranean Basin: a model of world’s karst groundwater?
Karst aquifers represent a major socio-economic issue in the Mediterranean basin because they provide freshwater resources for more than 50% of the population. Carbonate formations outcrop all around the Mediterranean, up to 500,000 km2 of the Mediterranean watershed. They all underwent to a complex, recent geological evolution, driven by tectonics, with uplifts and subsidences. They all undergo to a typical climate with two opposite hydrological seasons, the humid one, short and severe; the dry one, very long and warm. But can we consider them as a model of world’s karst groundwater?

The carbonate coastal areas underwent particular changes related to the Messinian salinity crisis, around 5.5 Ma. The dessication of the Mediterranean during 600,000 years lowered the sea level up to 1,500 m below the present sea level, forcing the main river valleys to deeply entrench the continent and groundwater to invade carbonate rocks, developing karst at depth. This is the main originality of Mediterranean karst aquifer, at the origin of so abundant submarine and brackish coastal karst springs along the coasts. The main development occurs there, what means that karst groundwater put under pressure by risks of overexploitation, sea water intrusion and pollution. All the means must be implemented in order to avoid a major water crisis, all the more so since karst aquifers are very complex, unpredictable, consequently particularly difficult to manage and protect.


British Geological Survey, Wallingford, United Kingdom
Tuesday 27th 13h45-14h15  / Plenary session
Pasteur Auditorium

Dan, hydrogeochemist, has been based within the Groundwater Science Directorate of the British Geological Survey for the past 15 years. His research interests cover many aspects of groundwater quality as well as the impact of climate and over pumping on groundwater resources in Africa and Asia. Through the use of field based observations his recent research effort has focused on characterising the sources and occurrence of newly emerging organic contaminants in groundwater, the employment of novel field based sensor technology, and the application of environmental tracers to understand hydrogeological processes and groundwater security in large multi-layered sedimentary aquifer systems. See BGS web Profile:


Emerging contaminants in groundwater
Groundwater is an excellent source of good quality water globally, however, a bewildering array of different contaminants are still detected in groundwater, some anthropogenic in origin and some that are naturally occurring. The term ‘emerging contaminants’ (ECs) can often mean different things to different people, and this often arises due to differences in analytical capability and national water quality monitoring programmes. ECs are often considered potential contaminants of concern and by definition have limited observations and require further monitoring and evidence gathering before being established as either ‘priority’ contaminants and subsequently covered by formal monitoring and regulations or established as low risk and a low priority for monitoring. New emerging contaminants are now being detected in groundwater with increasing frequency due to advances in analytical methods and the growing awareness of the range of anthropogenic inputs to the environment globally. Groundwater contamination by ECs is a growing concern and has been an active area of research in the last decade, but is still relatively poorly understood compared to surface waters. ECs include a wide array of different contaminant groups including pharmaceuticals and personal care products, agricultural and veterinary products, industrial compounds/by-products, food additives, plasticisers (as well as their metabolites and transformation products- collectively referred to as degradates), engineered nano-materials and antibiotic resistant microbes to name just a few. This paper provides a brief overview on the current state of research of emerging organic contaminants in groundwater, summarises lessons learnt from past examples, including some which caught us out, and looks at ongoing European wide activities for establishing improved future monitoring of ECs in groundwater.


Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University Newark, United States
Wednesday  28th 9h00-9h30  / Plenary session
Pasteur Auditorium

Dr. Lee Slater, Distinguished Professor and Henry Rutgers Professor in Geophysics at Rutgers University Newark, is an internationally recognized expert in hydrogeophysics. He has published extensively, including 145 papers in peer reviewed international journals of hydrogeology and geophysics. He has also served in prominent leadership roles in the academic geophysical community, including Chair of the Near Surface Geophysics Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Chair of the AGU Hydrogeophysics Technical Committee (current) and President of the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society (EEGS). Dr. Slater currently serves as Associate Editor of Water Resources Research (WRR) and he recently edited a new volume on Near Surface Geophysics published in the 2nd Edition of the Treatise on Geophysics, part of the Elsevier Major International Reference series. Dr. Slater has served on multiple advisory boards for large interdisciplinary hydrogeological research projects in Europe. His numerous PhD graduates have mostly gone onto academic positions and are now making their own contributions to advancing research in hydrogeophysics.


Hydrogeophysics: Advances in geophysical characterization and monitoring in support of water resources sustainability for society.

Hydrogeophysical methods offer unique opportunities to remotely characterize and monitor hydrogeological processes in a minimally invasive manner and over a wide range of scales. Hydrogeophysical monitoring is increasingly providing information on hydrogeological processes of high societal relevance. Such processes include, (1) modifications to coastal aquifers due to sea level rise and saline intrusion; (2) soil-crop interactions pertaining to food security and agricultural productivity; (3) transport of contaminated groundwater; (4) progress of natural and accelerated remediation of contaminated aquifers; (5) monitoring of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) and CO2 storage.
New methodological advances in hydrogeophysics include emerging geophysical technologies (e.g. nuclear magnetic resonance and induced polarization) capable of reliably estimating hydrogeological parameters such as permeability, development of long-term monitoring platforms, novel data integration/joint inversion methods and large scale airborne evaluation of water resources and climate change impacts on hydrology. This presentation will highlight state-of-the-art developments in hydrogeophysics within the context of supporting long-term, sustainable management of water resources.


GEOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Wednesday  28th 14h00-14h30  / Plenary session
Pasteur Auditorium


Florent Barbecot is a professor at GEOTOP, Quebec University in Montréal, and chairs the graduate studies in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. Barbecot holds a PhD in hydrogeology from Paris XI University. His research includes both fundamental research and applied science in the field of water resources geochemistry. His major focus is on developing field methodologies for (1) quantifying the present impacts of various land uses on groundwater recharge, (2) predicting the response of groundwater resources to land use and climate change in small river basins, and (3) assessing the impact of changes in quality and quantity of groundwater recharge on surface ecosystems.


Groundwater dating: a comprehensive approach to discovering hidden pathways

Increasing groundwater abstraction and contamination, as well as growing water scarcity already affect more than half of the population worldwide. The collection of environmental tracers has become routine in investigations of groundwater resources. Tracers provide information on the location and rates of groundwater recharge, on the mixing of groundwater masses, and on groundwater - surface water interactions. Dating tracers allow our understanding of past and current groundwater pathways to be refined, as well as the potential contamination or recovery of water resources to be estimated.

Apparent groundwater ages are commonly obtained by comparing the sample tracer concentration and the tracer input history at the recharge location. Tracers recently released by human activity, such as 3H, 85Kr, CFCs, or SF6, can be used to trace the young component of groundwater flow, and their presence indicates post-1940s recharge. Detection of such a modern tracer in groundwater provides valuable information, especially for the management of shallow groundwater systems. Old components of groundwater are well identified using long-life tracers, such as- 39Ar, 14C, 81Kr, and 36Cl, and contribute to diluting the various chemicals released by human activity.

Realizing that most groundwater bodies integrate flow patterns of multiple ages, lumped parameter models (LPM), mathematical models of transport based on simplified flow configurations, were developed to account for the effects of hydrodynamic dispersion or mixing, either within the aquifer or having taken place during sampling. By combining LPMs when a combination of dating tracers or long term chronicles are available, age distributions can be produced. In the best case scenario, the flow pattern generated by such an age distribution may be compared to that obtained by other methods, such as particle tracking from numerical groundwater-flow models. This comparison of age structures leads hydrogeologists and geochemists to rethink their concepts and modelling.

This presentation will review various tracers and their use in groundwater dating. Examples of age structure characterization show how modelling groundwater residence times can be used to understand and effectively manage water resources.


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