The management of the Guarani aquifer system

21–23 September 2011, São Paulo • In August 2010 Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, countries that share the Guarani Aquifer System (GAS), signed a new agreement for the management of this complex system. The four countries are now involved in the ratification process and in the negotiations of institutional aspects, including discussions regarding an annex to the Agreement on arbitration procedures. Against this background, the management of the GAS can benefit from a debate about the steps that have been taken until now, and about the challenges that lay ahead.

2011_SP_Aquiferoguarani_smallerThe conference «The Management of the Guarani Aquifer System: An Example of Cooperation» provides this opportunity and contributes to  UNESCO’s ISARM (Internationally Shared Aquifers Resource Management) programme.


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The organisers invite researchers, consultants and water management experts to submit an abstract for one of the three sessions of the conference:

(1) An assessment of the scientific knowledge on the GAS. The knowledge of the technical and scientific characteristics of the GAS, as well as of its hydraulic and hydrogeochemical characteristics, have led to the best practices for the management of the system. The goal of this session is to discuss the current state of this knowledge and the ‘knowledge vacuum’ that the technical and scientific community will need to bridge in order to reach an adequate management of the aquifer. Therefore, we invite authors to submit abstracts on the following topics:

  • Water availability from the GAS for different uses: operation and storage hydraulic models, both on a regional and local scale, and their response to exploitation.
  • Problems related to natural anomalies of water contaminants and their hydrogeochemistry.
  • Water quality degradation and pollution vulnerability due to human activities.
  • Overexploitation of the GAS in different areas, including where it is unconfined and confined, in regions where it is "mined" and in others where its exploitation is sustainable, with the relevant economic, social and environmental consequences.
  • The evolution of the GAS water use and the impacts on its hydraulic characteristics and water availability.
  • The monitoring groundwater quality and exploitation in the GAS.

(2) Current use and protection of the Guarani Aquifer System. The goal of this session is to draw information on the current status of the use and protection of the GAS. This will be done on three different levels: local (municipal), state (provincial) and regional. We welcome case studies, experiences and finalised or ongoing projects on the following themes:

  • Municipal experiences regarding restriction and control of well perforation in the GAS area.
  • Provincial and national experiences leading to the creation of environmental buffer zones in the GAS outcrop area.

(3) The GAS and regional cooperation. The goal of this session is to analyze the Guarani Aquifer Agreement in the framework of the debate on the future format of the UN International Law Commission (ILC) Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers. Abstracts dealing with topics along the lines of the following examples will be considered:

  • The institutional challenges present in the Guarani Aquifer Agreement.
  • Special regimes for specific areas of the GAS.
  • The principle of state sovereignty in the Guarani Aquifer Agreement and in the UN ILC Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers.
  • The debate on the human right to water, the Guarani Aquifer Agreement and the work of the UN ILC on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers.