Recharge systems for protecting and enhancing groundwater resources
The principle objective behind UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) has always been to develop a solid scientific and technological base for a sound management of water resources. Both aspects of quantity and quality of water resources are being addressed in the programme, while at the same time taking into account protection of the environment.
The availability of quality freshwater resources is a decisive factor for sustained socio-economic development. Now, more than ever, it is this solid scientific knowledge base that is required to support political and economic strategies on which the future of mankind may well depend. Management Aquifer Recharge (MAR), in particular, is a flexible model that can be applied on a number of different levels: from the smallest check dams to schemes supplying some of the largest cities in the world with populations in their millions. MAR is being applied extensively through traditional techniques in many parts of the world; an accumulated set of experiences from which we can still learn. However, irrespective of the level of sophistication at which MAR is applied, scientific research is important to evaluate the performance of different MAR systems under different conditions.
The series of MAR symposia has established itself as an important mechanism by which to report on state-of-the-art techniques in managing aquifer recharge. The 5th International Symposium on Managing Artificial Recharge of Groundwater (ISMAR-5) in Berlin, June 2005, was a welcome and timely event that allowed us to review advancements in such techniques made in the three years following the 4th International Symposium on Artificial Recharge of Groundwater (ISAR-4), held in Adelaide in September 2002 and also endorsed by the IHP.