The newly created Swiss Groundwater Network, CH-GNet for short, has now launched its online presence. A big step for Eawag’s new exchange, information and networking platform.
“Most Swiss people think that qualitatively flawless groundwater can be obtained in sufficient quantities without any problems in this country. However, Eawag researcher Mario Schirmer, co-initiator and member of the management team of the new Swiss Groundwater Network CH-GNet, knows that this can no longer be taken for granted. “Swiss Groundwater reserves are increasingly showing signs of contamination and dry phases are becoming more frequent and longer. During these climatic events, there can be temporary local and even regional water shortages,” says Schirmer.
CH-GNet: Focus on hydrogeological issues and challenges
For this reason, Eawag decided to establish a groundwater network in 2020. An exchange, information and networking platform for experts from the groundwater sector, research, authorities, enforcement and practice, and for citizens interested in the topic. The objective of the network is to record hydrogeological issues and challenges under the influence of new developments, to develop approaches to solutions and measures, to help implement these and to increase the visibility of groundwater relevant issues. Christian Möck, Eawag researcher in the field of water resources and drinking water and CH-GNet manager explains the background: “There is a great need for continuous capacity development, technical support and a Switzerland-wide exchange between research and a wide range of groundwater-relevant stakeholders.” CH-GNet therefore aims not only to make groundwater-relevant issues visible and work on them in a practice-oriented way, but also to initiate pilot studies and take on a thought leadership role with the network, adds groundwater expert Schirmer.
Combined knowledge and know-how for the practice
With the go live of its online presence, the network has now taken another important step towards networking and interdisciplinary transfer. In addition to background information and contact and exchange options, experts can also find groundwater-relevant results and meaningful data material on the web platform, which has not previously existed in Switzerland in this combination and which is constantly being expanded and adapted to new developments. This provides the players with essential information that allows a well-founded assessment of various issues. the visibility of the topic and of current and future challenges is also improved with the web presence. For example, various activities are listed there that deal with different fields of action such as microplastics in groundwater, agriculture and groundwater or groundwater dynamics/regeneration, thus making them more accessible. Numerous training courses on groundwater are also published on the information portal, providing practical tools and know-how on the subject. Christian Möck: “The website makes CH-GNet visible, supports the exchange of information between one another and makes relevant knowledge accessible to everyone who is involved in the groundwater sector. This allows us to address current and pending challenges and work together on solutions.”