Groundwater Management Working Group


Securing groundwater resources for livelihoods, food security, climate resilience and economic growth while sustaining the resource for future generations

The aim of the group is to understand, guide and support sustainable groundwater management in problem areas around the world, bringing into application up-to-date knowledge and tested, innovative, integrated and demand-driven efficient approaches to integrated and adaptive groundwater management.


The working group will develop multi-model-ensembles, with which it is possible to understand drivers, future development trends and effective management policies for scarce and threatened groundwater resources. It will combine state-of-the-art global (agro)-hydrological models with hydro-economic and agro-economic models, simulating the impact of socio-economic and climatic changes on future water and land use.

Our research will:

  1. Identify current and future hotspots with persisting and newly evolving risks of groundwater degradation
  2. Develop and evaluate integrated economic, technological and policy-based management and adaptation tools and strategies in dealing with groundwater-related socio-economic and environmental risks
  3. Convert results into sensible and feasible recommendations regarding sustainable groundwater management at national, regional and global level

Based on the research outcomes, the group will develop, document and disseminate knowledge and lessons on groundwater management solutions and interventions through strong global-to-local partnerships and accompanying knowledge brokering, and products such as briefing notes, targeted policy briefs and other materials. The group will develop topical position papers thereby raising the issue of sustainable groundwater on national and international agendas. Importantly, the group fills knowledge gaps on groundwater and groundwater management through thematic and integrated multidisciplinary research and multiscale assessments and models in order to support evidence-based and consulted solutions.


  • Co-Chair: Karen Villholth  – Principal Researcher and Subtheme Leader, Groundwater and Underground Solutions, IWMI (International Water Management Institute)
  • Co-Chair: Shaminder Puri – International Association of Hydrogeologists
  • Co-Chair: Anne Biewald – Deputy Professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Policies, University of Giessen, Senior Researcher, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
  • Jeroen Aerts – Professor Water and Risk, Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies, Amsterdam Global Change Institute, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Nicholas Brozovic – Director of Policy, Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, and Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA
  • Petra Döell – Professor of Hydrology, Goethe University Frankfurt
  • Dieter Gerten – Senior Researcher, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
  • Tom Gleeson – Assistant Professor, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Kevin Hiscock – Professor of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • Junguo Liu – Professor of Hydrology, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), China
  • Hermann Lotze-Campen – Professor of Sustainable Land Use and Climate Change, Chair of Research Domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerability, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
  • Manuel Pulido-Velazquez – Associate Prof., Technical Univ. of Valencia (UPV), Spain
  • Ted Veldkamp – PhD Researcher, Department of Water and Climate Risk, Institute for Environmental Studies, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Yoshihide Wada – Deputy Director Water Futures and Solutions, International Institute for Applied System Analysis(IIASA), Austria


The Working Group on Groundwater Management forms a consortium of inter-disciplinary partners with background in research, capacity development, collaboration and implementation related to surface and groundwater development and management, constituting the strongest and first ever globally established team to confront explicitly the contemporary challenges of groundwater development. It is based on the cooperation of scientists with different complementary backgrounds, such as groundwater hydrologists, hydrologic and agro-economic water-use modellers, experts on climatic and socio-economic risks related to water, and water management experts.  The group will analyse and widen global understanding of the policy implications and linkages of the above-ground and underground portions of the hydrological cycle and solutions at local to global scales to risks associated with over-development and contamination of groundwater, and collapse of ecosystems and socio-ecologies dependent on groundwater. The group will closely collaborate with partners under the GRIPP initiative (Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice):

  • International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
  • International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH)
  • Skat Foundation (Skat)
  • CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE)
  • CGIAR Research Program on Polices, Institutions and Markets (PIM)
  • The World Conservation Union (IUCN)
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
  • National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
  • National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT)
  • KickStart International (website)
  • Smart Water Metering Inc. (SWM)
  • African Groundwater Network (AGW-Net)
  • American Water Resources Association (AWRA)
  • American Ground Water Trust (AGWT)
  • University of Strathclyde, Civil and Environmental Engineering (US)
  • Center for Advanced Water Research (CAWR)
  • International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA)
  • Sun Yatsen University, Dept. Water Resources and Environment, School of Geography and Planning (SYSU)
  • Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP)

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