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Groves makes presentation at U.N. water conference in China

WKU University Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology Chris Groves delivered a keynote talk this week in Guilin, China, at the International Conference on Sustainable Utilization of Water Resources in Developing Countries, sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

About 80 participants attended the conference, mostly from Asia, Africa and Europe. The purposes of the conference were to share experiences with regard to the challenges of developing adequate and safe drinking water supplies, and to strengthen international partnerships.

WKU's Chris Groves shared a session of presentations with colleagues from South Africa, China and Zimbabwe this week at a U.N. water resources conference in China.

WKU’s Chris Groves (right) shared a session of presentations with colleagues from South Africa, China and Zimbabwe this week at a U.N. water resources conference in China.

Within the broader context of the conference, the 2nd China-Africa Cooperative Water Dialog resulted in an agreement to strengthen cooperation between China and African countries in research related to water resources and it was agreed that a subsequent effort in the series will be held in Capetown, South Africa, in 2015.

Dr. Groves’ presentation to the group focused on Water Resource Management Efforts in the Edwards Aquifer in Texas, and was co-authored with his colleague Geary Schindel of the Edwards Aquifer Authority in San Antonio.

Conference organizers had invited Dr. Groves to discuss the topic as efforts by Edwards Aquifer water managers can provide a model for dealing with highly complex hydrogeologic, economic, social, legal and environmental challenges. The Edwards Aquifer provides the sole drinking water source for more than two million residents of south central Texas, including the cities of San Antonio and Austin. Schindel completed a Master’s Degree in Geography at WKU in 1983, and now serves as the Edwards Aquifer Authority’s Director and Chief Technical Officer for Aquifer Science.

Dr. Groves has been actively engaged in related, international scientific efforts under the auspices of UNESCO for almost 20 years, and currently serves in his fourth year as co-leader of the UNESCO project IGCP598, Environmental Change and Sustainability in Karst Systems.

“The conference was especially useful in developing synergy and prospects for future collaborations between scientists from a range of developing countries who had never met one another before,” he said, “especially African scientists and water managers who face a range of difficulties providing safe and adequate drinking water supplies for growing populations.”

The trip marked more than 30 that Dr. Groves has made to China over the past 19 years, many with his wife, Deana, of WKU’s Department of Library Technical Services, working with Chinese and other international partners to undertake both basic and applied research in hydrogeology, geochemistry and water resources development in China. While there on this trip he also met with Chinese colleagues with whom he is working on ongoing, joint research on how geochemical processes associated with rock weathering in limestone karst regions is impacting atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Contact: Chris Groves, (270) 745-5974.

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