Dr. Šraj and Dr. Mikoš actively participated at the Bled Water Festival 2021, organised in Vila Bled, Bled, Slovenia from June 10 to 11, 2021.

Dr. Šraj served in the International Jury to select awardees for the Prize for “Responsible Towards Water” in the following three categories: Corporate, National, and Individual. Bled Water Festival would like to encourage and award innovative approaches, ideas in several areas, and thus increase the awareness of people about the importance of water that is the life energy for all living beings. The press release about the 2021 BWF Prize Recipients is here.

Dr. Mikoš contributed to the Panel on “Innovation and Groundwater”.
Tanja Miškova, Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia
Dr. Annukka Lipponen, the UNECE/ Secretariat of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, Switzerland
Ezio Crestaz, European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Institute of Sustainable Resources, Water and Marine Resources Unit, Italy
Dr. Matjaž Mikoš, Professor  of Hydrology at the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, Slovenia
Dr. Yuval Kaye, Chief Agronomist Ramat Negev (Frontier), Izrael

Water stress is increasing globally due to population and economic growth, exacerbated by climate change. Groundwater represents the main source of drinking water in many countries, including Slovenia. However, aquifers are being depleted due to unsustainable abstraction rates, or rendered useless by pollution. Many countries lack nationwide regulation of groundwater allocation or management. Most of the transboundary aquifers lack legal frameworks, sowing the seeds for future conflicts.

We need accelerated and scaled up solutions, and we need innovation: not only technical but also social, financial and in governance. The discussion will focus on the following questions:

  • How do we encourage multidisciplinary research and innovation on groundwater?
  • What are the innovative ecosystem-based adaptation measures that we can apply and scale up?
  • How do we combine traditional / indigenous knowledge and solutions with the latest technological innovation?
  • How do we efficiently manage the recharge of aquifers?
  • How to promote joint research projects on groundwater within jointly managed transboundary water basins? How to use the existing international agreements as a framework for inter-sectoral cooperation on a transboundary level?

Groundwater is turning from an invisible issue to a topical one. World Water Day 2022 will be dedicated to groundwater, as will the 2022 World Water Development Report. In December 2022, a conference on groundwater will be held in Paris under the auspices of UNESCO IHP.