The Groundwater theme is a complimentary effort to the IGOS Geohazards theme that will address transboundary aquifers. This issue has been identified as an important area for research by GARS members in Middle Eastern and North African countries. The impetus for such research is bolstered by the establishment, by the European Space Agency, of the TIGER Programme on water in Africa. The programme cooperates with the Space Hydrology International Partnership at UNESCO’s Hydrology and Earth Sciences Divisions. Although the TIGER Programme encompasses many aspects of African hydrology beyond the focus of GARS, the programme reinforces the need for research on groundwater and transboundary aquifer issues.
The Groundwater theme is in an early stage of development. A GARS working group will be established with links to the IGOS Water Cycle Theme. An initial discussion on how to proceed with the groundwater initiative was held in March 2006 at the second IGWCO theme planning meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Scientists involved in groundwater initiatives in West Africa, Southern Africa and the Middle East were in attendance.