IGRAC was established from the need to better understand groundwater at the regional and global scales. Since groundwater assessments cannot be done without sufficient information and knowledge, IGRAC’s main task has been on knowledge management and knowledge sharing. This has led to the development of a Global Groundwater Information System (GGIS). The GGIS is an interactive, web-based portal to groundwater-related information and knowledge open to the public. The system is meant for various categories of stakeholders, including both professionals and the general public. The geographical information system leads the user from aggregated country information (Global Overview) towards groundwater point data (Global Groundwater Monitoring Network) and towards related groundwater information (Meta Information Module).
The Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN) Programme has become one of IGRAC’s main activities. It is initiated to improve global monitoring and understanding of changes in groundwater resources. The GGMN Programme combines groundwater experts and technological services into an online portal that facilitates the assessment of changes to groundwater resources globally.The GGMN builds a network of networks, structured around national focal points who will manage the collection and entry of groundwater monitoring data in the web-based application.It is a participatory process that relies upon contributions of groundwater experts around the world.
The GGMN Portal contains groundwater point measurements from existing groundwater monitoring networks. A web-based, open-access application assists in the analysis of monitoring data. With permission from countries and data owners, the data sets can be used for calibration and verification of numerical models and remote sensing data. The portal also contains regional maps with interpolated groundwater data to better understand the changes occurring in groundwater resources. These maps are produced by groundwater specialists, who combine their regional hydrogeological knowledge with proxy information to spatially aggregate the groundwater point measurements.
Regional workshops are organised to strengthen and expand the GGMN People Network in data sparse areas. The workshops are designed for regional groundwater specialists to become familiar with the GGMN Programme and the functionality of the GGMN Portal. After the workshop, the country specialists continue to serve as GGMN focal points who will collect, process and analyse groundwater data on a regular basis.
At the same time, many data rich (and technology advanced) countries already have online databases but currently only few provide open-access to groundwater data. In collaboration with the countries championing international data sharing, IGRAC is establishing automated data flows between these countries’ national databases and the GGMN.
Another main activity of IGRAC is the assessment of transboundary aquifers. The vast majority of countries share aquifers with their neighbours. Political, institutional, socio-economic, cultural and other differences among countries make the assessment and management of internationally shared aquifers challenging. Accordingly, appropriate assessment and management of transboundary aquifers is necessary to prevent or mitigate groundwater problems and to improve the overall benefits from groundwater. The major transboundary aquifer assessment activities at IGRAC are carried out within the framework of ISARM – Internationally Shared Aquifer Resource Management programme, the UNECE assessments and the GEF – Global Environment Facility projects. In collaboration with these three programmes maps of transboundary aquifers from across the world have been mapped. The results of the assessments are compiled in the IGRAC map Transboundary Aquifers of the World.
In addition, IGRAC is participating in numerous projects and programmes on regional and global scales. IGRAC has become involved in the preparation and execution of various GEF International Waters projects such as IW Learn, IW Science, DIKTAS, and the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP).
Contact detailsWestvest 7 2611 AX Delft The Netherlands Tel: +31 15 215 2325 Website: www.un-igrac.org
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