Due to water shortage problems on local, regional and even global levels, the interest in groundwater has increased considerably during the past decades. In order to support the sustainable management of groundwater resources, it is necessary to map, model and quantify the stored volume and average annual replenishment of groundwater, while determining its chemical quality.
The World-wide Hydrogeological Mapping and Assessment Programme (WHYMAP) was created in 1999 in order to contribute to worldwide efforts towards better managing the Earth’s water resources, particularly groundwater. It is a joint programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Commission for the Geological Map of the World (CGMW), the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR).
BGR, together with the partners above, is gradually building up a geo-information system (WHYMAP GIS) in which the groundwater data are managed and visualized.
The goals of the programme are to:
- collect, collate and visualize hydrogeological information at the global scale to convey groundwater-related information in a way appropriate for global discussion on water issues and to emphasize the presence of underground water resources
- bring together the huge efforts in hydrogeological mapping, at regional, national and continental levels.