World Water Day 2022: NEWAVE's ECP Satellite Event on water governance

May 26, 2022

On March 22, NEWAVE co-hosted a European Climate Pact (ECP) Satellite Event, consisting of an online seminar titled “Why visibility may not improve governability: Critical questions about groundwater governance” and an on-site river clean up initiative in Den Haag, the Netherlands. The event was organized by NEWAVE in collaboration with Transformation to Groundwater Sustainability (T2GS) and European Climate Pact Netherlands.

The theme of World Water Day 2022 was groundwater, with the slogan of “making the invisible visible”. Although groundwater is invisible to the naked eye, its impact is visible everywhere. Indeed, almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater. As the role of groundwater is becoming increasingly critical due to the progressing climate change, the matter of sustainable groundwater governance is taking front stage. With this in mind, NEWAVE was proud to co-host our science-policy online seminar.

“Nowadays, groundwater is visible more than ever before,
but are we better at governing it?"
Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni

The seminar consisted of two parts – panel presentations and roundtable discussion. We are pleased to announce that our panel speakers included Professor Margreet Zwarteveen (IHE Delft, Netherlands), Professor François Molle (IRD, France) and Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni (ACWADAM, India). Each of the speakers shared their critical take on groundwater governance. For our roundtable discussion, we welcomed four discussants: Dr. Hind Ftouhi, Dr. Melle Nikkels, Mr. Willem Grootoonk, and Ms. Bettina Doeser.

A recording of the session is available on our YouTube channel or via the following link.

After the online seminar, our Scientific Project Manager Caterina Marinetti joined Fons Janssen, country coordinator for ECP Netherlands for the river clean up initiative organized by Stichting Acquarius. The two, joined by other volunteers, engaged in the local community activity to remove plastic and other waste from the canals of Den Haag. See pictures from this initiative on our Instagram account. You can also see the post-initiative video on the clean-up in den Haag, developed by the European Climate Pact team. 

Despite the necessity to host the seminar online, the event managed to attract significant interest from all over the world. NEWAVE recorded 319 registration and saw 116 people from 26 different countries attend the lecture. The map below presents the global distribution of the attendees.

Although hosting events via Zoom might have its issues, online events have the benefit of being available to anyone in the world. Indeed, we saw a great diversity in the nationalities of our participants, as shown in the figure above. The same could be said about the industry distribution among the attendees (Fig. 2). The ECP Satellite Event attracted representatives of diverse industries, with education on the lead.

We are pleased to have contributed to the critical debate on groundwater governance during World Water Day 2022 and look forward to similarly inspiring opportunities in the future.

We look forward to seeing you again in the upcoming activities. Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Youtube!