I received this email from a South Asian (Indian) friend (hydrogeologist) who congratulated me on being selected for the Steering Committee of the Stockholm-based Global Water Partnership. My appointment is not official until the GWP's Sponsoring Partners approve it at their September meeting. For that reason I have not told many people but I have been getting congratulatory emails so I guess it's fine to mention it.
1) While working in the SC of GWP, I request you to include ground water in the technical programs of the World Water Week in Stockholm. In early days of GWP when Dr. Ismail Serageldin (V.P. of World Bank) was with GWP, he understood the importance of ground water as a resource providing over 50% of irrigational supply and over 70% of rural domestic supply. He had invited me to Water Week in 1997-98 and 99. After his departure from GWP, surface water, water quality, waste water treatment and economics have almost hijacked the Water Week.
2) As regards the IWRM, although a few cases could be cited as examples, it is still a topic which is more talked about than practiced in low-income countries. The Government [India] owns most of the surface water but is not able to manage it properly (political reasons) so that we are losing thousands of hectares each year due to water logging because of over-irrigation from Canal Water. On the other hand Government cannot manage ground water properly because it does not own it. Farmers do have a strong sense of ownership of whatever water occurs below their farms. Thus, the Government owns surface water but cannot manage it and the Government cannot manage ground water because it does not own it!
It should be noted that the World Water Week is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute. Here is a list of the WWW's 2014 Scientific Programme Committee; Will Sarni is a hydrogeologist and I know Prof. Jan Lundqvist has groundwater expertise.
I have not been to a WWW since 2007 but based on that and my earlier (2005) experience I agree with my friend's assessment of the status of groundwater at the WWW. At the 2005 meeting I did mention the lack of groundwater to a former student in my groundwater hydrology class at the University of Nevada-Reno who had risen to a position of influence at WWW. Guess I wasn't very persuasive.
But then again, perhaps things have changed since 2007.