President's Message

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“Towards further development of

the groundwater research community in Japan”

Prof. Dr. Fumi Sugita

(Chiba University of Commerce)

President of JAGH

Since its establishment in 1959, the Japanese Association of Groundwater Hydrology (JAGH) has been providing a platform for university and corporate researchers in the field of groundwater to present and discuss their new findings, and accumulating vast knowledge and information related to groundwater. Our activities include publication of journals, holding meetings in spring and autumn and coordinating short courses, symposiums, and seminars.

A demand for direct involvement of the JAGH in solving groundwater related social issues has been increasing in Japan lately, especially after the enactment of the Water Cycle Basic Act in 2014 and subsequent revision in 2021, which specifically refers to groundwater. In order to meet social expectation of conserving and utilizing groundwater to the fullest, the cooperation of various related fields with groundwater science is required. We have started to see interdisciplinary papers that combine elements of both natural and social sciences in the recent issues of our journal, and we hope to see further progress in interdisciplinary and even transdisciplinary research. For the further development and coordination of flexible research projects across different fields, we are organizing events for groundwater researchers to enhance their understanding of related fields, and also publishing materials to provide a comprehensive overview of groundwater.

Effective use and management of groundwater in a region are possible when the regional states of the groundwater are well understood. Groundwater which constitutes 99% of the world’s freshwater is often said to be “the most important, yet poorly understood resource”. While groundwater flow in a homogeneous geologies or laboratory experiments can be described by simple solutions of the continuity equation, actual flow field in regional scale is difficult to express even with the advanced observation techniques and numerical models. Understanding regional-scale groundwater flow fields is among our most important missions in this term.

There is a concern regarding decrease of institutions that provide comprehensive groundwater education due to dispersion and decrease of groundwater faculty in Japan. This may lead to potential difficulty for early career researchers in conducting their research.

Besides offering the research grant for young researchers, the YEPS (Young member’s support and Equal PartnerShip)committee has been carrying out various events including a “Young Researchers Seminar” which is an informal gathering of early career researchers and graduate students from different institutions to meet each other and exchange their ideas. We will continue to support young researchers for the advancement of groundwater science in future.

The United Nations has set the goal in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all and sustainable management of water resources by 2030.” Aiming that goal, we are to identify most important issues for the next generation of groundwater scientists to focus on, and also will engage in activities that bridge experienced senior members’ knowledge and techniques with the next generation, horizontally and vertically. Active involvement and cooperation of the members are greatly appreciated.