The IAH International Conference on Groundwater and Global Change in the Western Mediterranean (GWM-Change) was held most appropriately in ‘multicultural Granada’ during 6-9 November 2017. The meeting was promoted by the IAH Spanish Chapter, in collaboration with the IAH French, Italian, Moroccan, Portuguese and Tunisian Chapters and with Algerian contacts, at the initiative of Prof Dr Bartolome Andreo (IAH Spanish Chapter President).
The conference was very efficiently organised by the University of Granada, under the chair of Prof Dr María-Luisa Calvache, with support from IGME (Spanish Geological Survey) – and also enjoyed sponsorship from various companies and patronage of local agencies. It was attended by over 150 delegates from Algeria, France, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia, together with a few people from outside the geographical region.
This drought-prone region has one of the longest histories globally of groundwater exploitation, and its coastal plains and valleys have witnessed some very intensive anthropogenic modification. Some 100 contributions (oral communications and poster displays) and 6 keynote lectures addressing these issues were given over 3 days. The presentations included many case profiles and practical experiences on the modification of groundwater resources by processes of global climate and land-use change, especially on coastal aquifers, and on the construction of infrastructure and other measures to adapt to them. Additionally, the conference featured a well-deserved tribute to Prof Dr Antonio Pulido-Bosch (University of Almeria) for his selfless dedication to training and research in hydrogeological science throughout his long professional career.
The conference ended with a field excursion to see how the water-supply of ancient Granada was achieved, with visits to the aquifer that fed the principal spring (Fuente Grande) from which the water was delivered to the hilly Albaicín neighborhood by means of a system of conduits (‘acequias’), where it was stored in the old tanks (‘algibes’). The excursion culminated with a visit to the monumental Alhambra, where an ingenious system was used to raise water and supply the palace during the Muslim era.
The results of the congress will be disseminated in two publications:
- A digital book containing all submitted contributions, edited by IAH Spain and the Universidad de Granada Editorial, which is available to download.
- A book entitled “Groundwater and Global Change in the Western Mediterranean”, edited by Springer, that will disseminate internationally the results of the conference – it will contain a selection of 35 papers and when complete all conference participants will have free access to an electronic version.
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