SIWI pushes for better groundwater governance

News Oct 02, 2020
The world is facing a growing groundwater crisis that has so far not received its due attention. To help raise awareness of this, SIWI recently joined the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP). SIWI is working actively to promote better governance also of this ‘invisible’ water resource.

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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 not monitored on par with surface water, nor efficiently governed, it can easily get over-abstracted and contaminated without there being sufficient understanding of how critical this development is.

“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 become 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 especially in focus as 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.