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IAH Council Elections 2020: a message from Antonio Chambel, IAH President

18 years and counting…

I’ve reached almost 12 years on IAH’s Executive Committee and also served for 18 years on the board of directors of the IAH Portuguese National Chapter. My roles within the IAH Executive Committee have been 4 years as Vice-President for Finance and Membership, 4 years as Vice-President for Programme and Scientific Coordination and I’m currently on the path of 4 years as IAH President. After this year’s IAH Council elections I will remain as a member of Council as Past President for 4 years to support incoming members.

“Yes, we do need to make time to act for IAH and groundwater, but this time is rewarding if we care about what we are doing.”

Why have I dedicated all this time as a volunteer to IAH? Because I felt this was a way to help defend our profession, to bring groundwater to international politics, institutions and legislation, to influence decisions related with groundwater governance in the world and to be actively looking for partnerships that can help improve groundwater knowledge between politicians, other water related professionals and stakeholders.

Groundwater, as a “hidden” resource, tends to be seen by other water professionals as a resource difficult to understand, difficult to quantify, as a resource almost apart from the water cycle, while surface water it’s sensed as more visible and easier to manage. The full understanding of groundwater role in the water cycle, the links with surface water, its importance to ecosystems all around the world, is not a common view between politicians and other water professionals. Due to its underrepresentation in international, regional and national level, groundwater is many times neglected as a powerful resource to mitigate poorness, food security, health issues, and even social issues such as gender balance in less developed regions. These were probably the biggest motifs for me to undertake voluntary work for IAH, to bring these concerns to the international agenda, to make organisations including the UN‑Water, World Water Council, the International Network of Basin Organisations and the World Health Organisation understand that groundwater is vital to address many of the water problems of humanity.

IAH has given me opportunity to do these kind of things. Amongst this I have made numerous friends, all of them committed with similar objectives. These include friends inside other organisations who are now much more aware of groundwater problems and can help provide a voice for this precious resource.

Yes, we do need to make time to act for IAH and groundwater, but this time is rewarding if we care about what we are doing. Over the years I’ve come to feel that my contribution has helped change some perceptions about groundwater in some international organisations. I believe that groundwater professionals are becoming closer in being recognised as valuable sources of knowledge in politics, legislation, and in the day-to-day practicalities of governance and management of the water resources in the world.

Working for IAH – it’s rewarding in all the senses. New ideas are always welcome, so we invite you to bring your thoughts and try to help IAH to grow and feature in what concerns all aspects of water governance.  During this time of Council elections, please consider participating in any way you can. You will be rewarded by the recognition of our members and the international community of groundwater professionals.


We are seeking a strong, diverse range of individuals to help run our Association in this year’s Council elections, and also to help out with our many national chapters and special interest groups. Follow the links below to find out more.

IAH Council Election – call for nominations

Current Council members

Annual Report of the Association, 2018

IAH’s National Chapters, Commissions and Networks

International Partners and Affliliates

IAH’s plans to 2020 and beyond (the “Forward Look” strategic process)

IAH’s Forward Look – Latest Review of Achievements and Priorities

IAH’s history

IAH Rules

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