Présentations Colloques

Oral Presentation
7.07
Session 7.07: Transdisciplinary and participatory approaches in groundwater research and management
Re Viviana
Socio-hydrogeology- enhancing the role of hydrogeologists as advocates for public engagement in water management and governance
A new approach to groundwater investigation is proposed. Socio-hydrogeology aims at providing management practices with better support, coupling hydrogeology with a more comprehensive assessment of the socio-economic implications of the (ground)water problem in question. In practical terms this means not only to study the mutual relations between people and groundwater (i.e., the impact of human activities on the baseline characteristics of an aquifer and the impact of groundwater on human wellbeing), but more generally to foster the inclusion of the social dimension in hydrogeological investigations. Only in this way hydrogeologists can ensure that the results of scientific investigations are both based on real needs and local knowledge, and also adequately disseminated to water end users. Indeed they can act as mediator between theory and practice, hence between the problem and the(potential) proposed solution.**The key aspects of socio-hydrogeology are- (i) assessing the impact of human activities on groundwater resources+ (ii) evaluating the (socio-economic) impact of groundwater resources (and its changes in terms of both quality and quantity) on human life and wellbeing+ (iii) identifying the stakeholders involved in a specific groundwater issue, their relations (e.g., power, knowledge flux, financial transfer) and possible existing conflicts+ (iv) promoting better use of the outcomes of a hydrogeological investigation+ and (v) attempting to bridge the gap between science and practice. The last point is fundamental because only trust in scientific outcomes can lead to successful and conscious cooperation, with water end users being fully aware of the implications of new science-based policies and that their real needs are taken into account while new measures are being decided upon.**Through its application socio-hydrogeology will not only create room for future public participation activities (supporting the design of a framework where participation results are really taken into account in decision-making processes), but it will also allow science and groundwater scientists to be demystified, facilitating the promotion of groundwater-user networks supported by experts.**
Italy