International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH)
The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH/AIH) is a scientific and educational charitable organisation for scientists, engineers, water managers and other professionals working in the fields of groundwater resource planning, management and protection. IAH aims to be a leading international society for the science and practice of hydrogeology and to be a globally recognised information source and facilitator for the transfer of groundwater knowledge. We endeavour to raise awareness of groundwater issues and work with national and international agencies to promote the use of groundwater to ensure ready access to safe drinking water. IAH also promotes the protection of aquifers against pollution, the improvement of aquifer storage and the ma
Mission and aims
Our mission is to further the understanding, wise use and protection of groundwater resources throughout the world.
A world-wide groundwater organisation
IAH is truly a world-wide association, its efforts being made through its many National Chapters (groups), Scientific/Topic based Commissions and Networks; its international team of Council members, and its UK based Secretariat. In addition we have over 4000 members based all around the world. We are striving to increase this number and our world-wide activities because the greater our number and effort, the more powerful and effective our voice internationally and the wider we can reach in all aspects of our work.
In 2006 IAH reached its 50th birthday. A brief history is given below, some of which is extracted from an article written by John Day, a former Vice President of IAH and published in the first edition of Applied Hydrogeology, now Hydrogeology Journal.
Initial discussion on the setting up of IAH began at the International Geological Congress in London in 1948. The founding group were largely francophone and the discussions continued at the next ICG held in Algiers in 1952 which brought together many hydrogeologists with experience of working in North Africa before and during the 2nd World War. This led to the formal inauguration of the Association at the 1956 Congress in Mexico City. In 1964, the Association was affiliated to the International Union of Geological Sciences. In his article, John Day stated:
“From small beginnings, and by its members’ persistent exertions, the Association has achieved a truly international stature and a professional reputation second to none, motivated only by its members’ desires to get to know each other and to share professional expertise despite the various political and economic barriers of the times. Make no mistake, 40 years ago, those barriers were all too real, as many older members of the Association remember only too clearly. The aftermath of the Second World War, the virtual breakdown of relations between the countries of Eastern Europe and the West, together with the isolation of huge areas of Asia, created enormous problems for international science.”
Congresses and meetings
IAH held its first Congress in Paris in 1957, with its 40th congress taking place in Perth, Australia in September 2013. Over the years the congresses have taken place in numerous countries all around the world, upholding IAH’s commitment to reach as far a geographical spread as possible. In recent years, for example, congresses have taken place in Canada, Poland, India, Japan, Portugal, China and Mexico (in reverse order). Our congress in 2014 will be taking place in Morocco.
As well as hosting annual or biennial congresses IAH Association holds or co-sponsors many more meetings each year through its National Chapters, its Commissions and Networks, and with sister organisations. These may be at a local or international level.
Although IAH is an organisation of individual members, we have always encouraged the formation of national groups or Chapters. Many are very long established from the early days of the Association – so much so that we are finding it difficult to confirm which chapter was first – but we are endeavouring to find this out! Could it be your chapter?
Commissions and networks
IAH promotes outreach and the study of special topics through its network of Commissions and Networks . The earliest, that for hydrogeological maps, was established in 1959 under the chairmanship of the late Professor Herbert Karrenberg, and, more recently, of Professor Willi Struckmeier. Over the years the commissions and networks have proved invaluable in bringing together like-minded individuals and will continue to do so in the future.