International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH)

Brazilian Groundwater Association celebrates its 30th anniversary

ABAS, the Brazilian Groundwater Association, celebrated its XV Congress & 30th Anniversary from 11-14 November 2008 at a spectacular ocean-front venue amidst the towering sand dunes of the urban coastal park of Natal (Rio Grande do Norte) in the extreme northeast of Brazil, report Stephen Foster and Ricardo Hirata. The Congress, on the theme ‘Agua Subterranea para Hoje e Sempre’ (Groundwater for Today and Forever) and the associated ‘Feria Nacional da Agua’, is the largest periodic groundwater convention in the Portuguese-speaking world and attracted some 480 participants (including a number of IAH members from Brazil).

Amongst the recent achievements of ABAS was the launch in October 2007 of a popular magazine in Portuguese, ‘Aguas Subterraneas’, providing topical articles on groundwater issues, research results and technological developments. This has been sustained (not without considerable difficulty) on a basis of 4 issues per year. At the ABAS General Assembly on 14 November it was announced that the new Director-President for 2009-10 will be Everton Costa-Souza (Parana), with Dorothy Pinatti-Casarini (Sao Paulo) as 1st Vice-President and Rodrigo Cordeiro as Executive Manager, and the XVI Congress will be in northern Brazil at Sao Luis (Maranhao) in 2010.

IAH Past President Stephen Foster attended the Congress (funded by the World Bank to pursue urban groundwater use status and policy issues in Brazil) – and on behalf of IAH gave an invited presentation on ‘Agriculture & Groundwater-Understanding and Managing our Key Interface’ and also (with Ricardo Hirata) explored the possibility of cooperation with ABAS in relation to (a) IAH operations in Brazil and (b) formation with our Portuguese National Chapter (organisers of the IAH XXXV Congress in Lisbon) of an ‘IAH Portuguese Language Network’ to help support the dissemination of groundwater science and practice in Portuguese-speaking African countries.

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