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Inaugural lecture by Beth Parker, as holder of the Tage Erlander Guest professorship, entitled 'Groundwater: An Invisible Resource Presenting Challenges and Opportunities.

Beth Parker

The Swedish Research Council and The Department of Geology have the pleasure to invite you to the inaugural lecture by Beth Parker, as holder of the Tage Erlander Guest professorship, entitled 'Groundwater: An Invisible Resource Presenting Challenges and Opportunities

17 of May 14.15-16 in Pangea lecture hall, Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, Lund 


Welcome address

  • Welcome by Sven Lidin, Head of the Science Faculty
  • The Tage Erlander Guest Professorship, Mattias Marklund, Secretary General, Swedish Research Council
  • Groundwater research, Charlotte Sparrenbom, Associate Professor, Dep. of Geology, Lund University and Mette Broholm, Associate Professor, DTU, Denmark

About the inaugural lecture

Groundwater represents 99% of our available freshwater resource globally, sustains 50% of the surface water flows throughout the seasons and therefore, represents nearly 70% of the irrigation water used for food production. Over 50% of the world’s population relies directly on groundwater for their drinking water, and future demand is increasing.  Because groundwater is out of sight, it is poorly understood and often mismanaged. Over pumping of groundwater and depletion of aquifers causes several direct and indirect consequences such as land subsidence, sea level rise, reduced river baseflow, changing groundwater quality and soil salinization. Furthermore, we have indiscriminately spilled and dumped wastes and chemicals on and in the ground expecting the groundwater system to degrade or purify these contaminants over time, without concern for limits.  The United Nations has declared 2022 the year of groundwater: making the invisible visible.  In keeping with this mission, I aim to show how our understanding of groundwater as a valuable resource depends on higher vertical resolution characterization and monitoring methods, using multiple tools and methods from across disciplines. This is warranted because hydrogeologic systems are complex, both spatially and temporally; and enhanced knowledge of groundwater flow systems can improve prediction of groundwater flow, pathways, residence times and transport of nutrients and contaminants toward surface water or water well receptors. The time is now for developing a deeper understanding of our groundwater resources using modern technologies with a commitment to do so sooner rather than later.  Groundwater, as a key component of the hydrologic cycle, is a vital resource for sustaining life and accommodating changes in climate.