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2016 - The Year of Water

28 January 2016

The Geological Society has named 2016 the Year of Water. Throughout the year, the Society will be exploring the different and varied ways in which geology and water interact, and the importance of these links to people and the environment.

‘The importance of water to geological processes cannot be overstated’ says GSL President David Manning. ‘Whether as ice, liquid or gas, water is essential to many areas of our science -rock forming processes, understanding and use of groundwater, glaciation, ocean chemistry, palaeoclimatology, living with geological hazards – the list goes on!’

David Jones, Vice President of the Geological Society and a hydrogeologist at Natural Resources Wales says ‘Following the devastating floods we’ve seen so far this winter, and those in the winter of 2013/14, a longer term view of managing river and groundwater flooding is imperative. A good understanding of hydrogeology and the behaviour of the subsurface, in the context of the increasing challenges of climate change, will be essential in managing these hazards.’

Important links between geology, water development and sustainability also underpin several of the recently announced UN Sustainable Development Goals, and discussions at the recent COP 21 summit in Paris.

Water will be at the heart of the Society’s science programme throughout 2016, through a variety of research conferences, lectures, educational activities and other events.

Topics will include tsunamis, groundwater and water on Mars, as well as a broad overview of water and the myriad ways it plays an essential role in processes throughout the Universe. Upcoming events include a public lecture by ITV Science Correspondent Alok Jha, author of ‘The Water Book’, and a conference focusing on Martian gullies and their Earth analogues.

‘The Year of Water will provide an opportunity to share and debate emerging research, as well as to communicate with policy makers and the wider public’ says Professor Manning. ‘We hope to highlight the vital role of water in understanding how our planet works, and how we can live sustainably on it.’