Webinar on Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible

Time in different zones

This webinar starts at 1pm UTC | 9pm Beijing | 9am New York | Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2022


Accounting for approximately 99% of all liquid freshwater on Earth and distributed over the entire globe, groundwater has the potential to provide societies with tremendous social, economic and environmental benefits. Groundwater is one of the most extracted natural resources which now provides half of the volume of water withdrawn for domestic use by the global population, and around 25% of all water withdrawn for irrigation. Despite its enormous importance, groundwater resource is often poorly understood, and consequently undervalued, mismanaged and even abused. The main reason for this to happen is identified as groundwater’s invisible nature, buried underground and therefore the problems are often “out of sight, out of mind”. 

However, in spite of its overall abundance, groundwater remains vulnerable to overexploitation and pollution, both of which can have devastating effects on the resource and its availability. 

Groundwater can no longer be kept invisible. Unlocking its full potential will require strong and concerted efforts to manage and use it sustainably, and it starts by “Making the Invisible Visible”. 

In celebration of the World Water Day, the UN World Water Development Report 2022, to be officially launched on March 22, will focus on groundwater this year. To help better understand this important report, IWHR, IAHR, UNESCO World Water Assessment Program and GWP China are joining hands in organizing this webinar on March 30 that features a keynote presentation by Richard Connor, editor-in-chief of the World Water Development Report, on the highlights from the latest edition of this flagship UN report and on unlocking the immense potential of groundwater today and protecting it for tomorrow. Shahbaz Khan, director of the UNESCO Beijing Office, and Joseph Lee, president of IAHR, will be giving an opening address. Experts from 6 different continents will also provide diverse perspectives on this critical natural resource.

Invited Speakers

Shahbaz Khan

Joseph H.W. Lee

Richard Connor

Karen Villholth

Graham Fogg

Klaus Hinsby

Herve Jegat

Yuanyuan Li

Matthew Currell

Alberto Guadagnini

Xin He


Opening | (10 mins)

Introducing the webinar and speakers
Xin He | China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing, China

Opening Address
Shahbaz Khan | Director of the UNESCO Beijing Office

Opening Address
Joseph H.W. Lee | President, IAHR; President, Macau University of Science and Technology, China

Keynote Speech | (45 mins)

Unlocking the immense potential of groundwater today and protecting the resource for tomorrow - Highlights from the 2022 Edition of the UN World Water Development Report
Richard Connor | Editor-in-Chief of the United Nations World Water Development Report, UNESCO World Water Assessment Program

Invited case studies | (60 mins)

South Africa and Africa | Groundwater for Africa’s resilience and socioeconomic transformation
Karen Villholth | Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), South Africa

US and North America | Groundwater basin openness as a determinant of sustainability
Graham Fogg | Professor Emeritus of Hydrogeology, University of California, Davis, USA

Denmark and Europe | Groundwater quantity and quality in Europe – introducing an open access digital information platform supporting sustainable groundwater and subsurface resources management
Klaus Hinsby | Senior Research Hydrogeologist, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS);Chair of the Water Resources Expert Group, EuroGeoSurveys, Denmark

Venezuela and Latin America | Groundwater resources in Latin America
Herve Jegat | Full professor at CIDIAT, Interamerican Center for Environment Research and Development from the University of Los Andes, ULA, Mérida Venezuela

China and Asia | Groundwater management and protection in northern China
Yuanyuan Li | President of IWRA; Vice-President of the General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design, Ministry of Water Resources, China

Australia and Oceania | Challenges for protecting groundwater in areas of resource development: case studies from Australia
Matthew Currell | Professor of Environmental Engineering, RMIT University, Australia

Discussion and Q&A | (25 mins)

Questions from viewers answered by panelists, Q&A between panelists
Hosted by Xin He | China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing, China

Concluding Remarks | (5 mins)

Wrapping up the webinar
Alberto Guadagnini | Chair of the Groundwater Committee, IAHR; Professor and Department Head, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Organized and Sponsored by


For the Reading

More Information

  • 1pm UTC | 9pm Beijing | 9am New York, Wednesday, March 30, 2022
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