2017 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference
Call for Abstracts

Submission Deadline: extended to 3/8/18

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations on all topics related to "The Science, Management and Governance of Transboundary Groundwater" are sought. Transboundary is not limited to 'transnational', but refers to situations when groundwater crosses or underlies two or more political jurisdictions -- be they local, regional or international -- so that it must be managed as a transboundary resource.

Growing populations and economies will increase competition for water resources around the world. Furthermore, desiccation of surface water supplies via climate change will not only exacerbate disputes over current water supplies but also increase pressure on groundwater resources, already stressed in some parts of the world. Since water resources respect no political boundaries - sometimes not even intra-national or intra-state boundaries - equitable agreements to govern, manage, and protect these resources are essential to the social and economic well-being of all water users. While formal agreements for equitably governing and managing transboundary surface water resources are common and well-understood, the development of similar transboundary groundwater agreements is in its infancy.

Why This Conference is Important

Consider this: there are over 600 transnational aquifers - about double the number of transnational river basins. Despite this huge number, Professor Gabriel Eckstein of the Texas A&M University School of Law has estimated that in the past 1,200 years there have been about 3,600 written agreements governing transnational surface water resources but only 4 governing transnational aquifers: France and Switzerland; Jordan and Saudi Arabia; and two agreements in North Africa. This situation does not bode well for future harmony in the water resources realm.

As for intra-national cases, there are already disputes involving transboundary groundwater in the United States. One case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court between the states of Mississippi and Tennessee could have significant domestic - and perhaps even international - repercussions, depending upon the outcome. The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case involving two California water districts and a Native American reservation. By doing so, the Court let stand a lower court ruling that allowed groundwater on Native American reservations to be considered a 'reserved right'. This could have significant impacts on groundwater use and allocation, especially in the Western states.

Disagreements such as the aforementioned threaten to become the rule, not the exception, not only in the USA but also around the world. Water professionals must act proactively now to develop mechanisms to address, avoid, and resolve such issues. Not only must legal, management, and governance schemes be devised, but so must methods for identifying transboundary aquifers, characterizing their hydrogeologic properties, assessing their sustainability, ensuring prevention of groundwater from pollution, developing instruments for management and governance, and protecting groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

Conference Goals

The conference will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about and engage in discussions on innovative approaches for identifying transboundary groundwater resources and the methods to develop sustainable governance and management agreements.

Join us in Ft. Worth, Texas on 9-11 July 2018 to discuss the newest developments in transboundary groundwater research and practice and innovative approaches for developing sustainable governance and management systems, from the local to regional to international scales.

We look forward to seeing you in Texas in July 2018!

John Tracy

John Tracy
Conference Chairperson
Director, Texas Water Resources Institute
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX

Michael Campana

Dr. Michael E. Campana
Technical Program Chair
Technical Director, AWRA
Professor, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmosphere Sciences
Oregon State University, Corvallis OR

Important Dates:

Send proposals for Topical Sessions to John Tracy john.tracy@ag.tamu.edu and Michael Campana Michael.campana@oregonstate.edu. Due no later than January 29, 2018.
Send proposals for Workshops to John Tracy john.tracy@ag.tamu.edu and Michael Campana Michael.campana@oregonstate.edu. . Due no later than April 2, 2018.
Abstracts due (online submittal system): March 8, 2018.
Notification of Abstract acceptance: mid-April, 2018

Call for Topical Sessions and Workshops