Microbial Groundwater Quality

Dear IAH Members and Affiliates,

Dr Paul Hynds (Technological University Dublin) and Dr Jean O’Dwyer (University College Cork) are proposing the initiation of a new IAH Microbiological Groundwater Quality (MGQ) Thematic Group under the auspices of the IAH Commission on Groundwater Quality (CGQ). The group will seek to highlight the intersect between hydrogeology, public health and microbial pathogens, with a particular focus on the sources, pathways and dual receptors (i.e., groundwater sources and the people using them) of/for faecal contamination (e.g., VTEC/STEC, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Campylobacter, norovirus, rotavirus) of groundwater systems. The mission of the proposed group will closely align with those of the overarching IAH-CGQ, as follows:

  • Advance current understanding and research on microbiological groundwater quality,
  • Provide new evidence for policy makers on microbiological groundwater quality status and constraints including crosscutting water quality challenges for drinking water provision (e.g., climate change, risk management and communication, data constraints and opportunities)
  • Promote and coordinate the advancement of microbiological groundwater quality research within existing networks and commissions
  • Promote knowledge exchange and training to equip hydrogeologists working in this area and assist active collaboration with relevant disciplines including clinicians, epidemiologists, healthcare/public health professionals
  • Disseminate research in this field to the global research community and leverage potential future trans-disciplinary funding opportunities by engaging with key international agencies (e.g. WWQAUNICEFWHOUNESCOJMP) and funders


As an initial first step, the MGQ Group proposes a number of potential research and dissemination initiatives over the coming 12-18 month period, including,

  • Special Thematic Issue of Hydrogeology Journal in 2022/23 entitled “Groundwater Epidemiology” seeking to provide a state-of-the-art update to the 2017 Special Issue “Hydrogeology and Health”
  • Themed Session(s) at upcoming IAH Conferences and Meetings including the IAH Congress 2023 in South Africa
  • Development, Submission and Initiation of an EU COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action on Microbiological Groundwater Quality

If you would be interested in joining the proposed MGQ Group, or have any queries, comments or recommendations regarding its mission, potential initiatives or rationale, please feel free to contact Paul (hyndsp@tcd.ie), Jean (jean.odwyer@ucc.ie) or Dan (djla@bgs.ac.uk) at any point over the coming weeks/months. In your response please cc to the IAH CGQ (iahgqc@gmail.com).