Groundwater Quality Special Issue in STOTEN

Title: Groundwater quality: global challenges and opportunities, Special Issue in STOTEN

Groundwater is the largest global freshwater resource. It is often considered a good alternative to surface water sources in terms of water quality. Groundwater is the most widely accessible water resource, used for a range of human activities, and underpins environmental flows in rivers and other dependant ecosystems. However, we are polluting this finite resource at a growing rate through various anthropogenic activities and at the same time a range of natural (geogenic) water quality challenges constrain its use in some regions. While it is evident that compared to surface waters the quality of groundwater has been poorly monitored in many regions, a number of global challenges have now been reported (e.g. arsenic, fluoride, nitrate and salinity) and others are only now starting to emerge. This underlines the importance of continued efforts to understand the diversity and scale of groundwater quality challenges globally as well as highlight the benefits this resource has for millions of users if it is managed and protected.

Groundwater ‘making the invisible visible’ will be the theme for UN World Water day 2022. With this in mind, invited contributions on key topics, with often multi-faceted challenges and opportunities for groundwater use and wider environmental impacts will be included in the Special Issue, coordinated by the IAH-GQC chairs. Themes include (but are not limited to) salinity, radioactivity, nitrate, fluoride, arsenic, microbiology, heavy metals and organic contamination of groundwater by legacy and emerging compounds. Contributions dealing with global or large regional water quality challenges, as well as assessments of the opportunities groundwater of good status provides will be included. The special issue will be completed in late 2021.