Outcomes of the 44th IAH Congress, Dubrovnik, Croatia, September 2017

Handover of the IAH Karst Commission to a new team of Chairs

After eight years in office, the IAH Karst Commission (KC) has been handed over to a new team of Chairs. Nico Goldscheider (Germany) served as Chair of this Commission from 2009 to 2017, supported by two Co-Chairs, Neven Kresic (USA) and Jiang Guanghui (China). Over the course of this period KC members have met annually, at nine international conferences, during which the Commission also organised scientific sessions and field trips. Members of the KC have jointly published numerous books and special issues dedicated to karst hydrogeology, including a series of “Reviews in Karst Hydrogeology” consisting – to date – of eight papers. The KC has also established the “Young Karst Researcher Prize”, with the total of 27 awardees since 2009. Several international training courses have been developed and offered on four continents. In 2017, the current team of Chairs has jointly decided to retire, to make room for new people and ideas, and has organised transparent elections for the new team. This was the first time that an IAH commission organised the elections using the anonymous electronic voting system. On 18 September 2017, Zoran Stevanovic (Serbia), Augusto Auler (Brazil) and Cheng Zhang (China) were elected for a period of 4 years as a team of three Chairs of equal standing,withrotating leadership. Zoran Stevanovic is currently serving as the first Principal Chair within this rotating system. The new team has organised a annual KC meeting during the 44th IAH Congress in Dubrovnik,which was attended by more than 50 members and friends of the KC. At the meeting, Nico Goldscheider was unanimously elected to the newly established position of Past-Chair of the KC.

Zoran Stevanovic (the new Chair) and Nico Goldscheider (Past Chair)

Activities of the Karst Commission during the 44th IAH Congress in Dubrovnik

The Karst Commission (KC) was one of the most active IAH commissions and working groups during the 44th IAH Congress held from 23 to 29 September 2017in Dubrovnik, Croatia. At the first congress’ plenary session, after the opening ceremony,Past-Chair of the KC Nico Goldscheider presented athematic lecture on theresults of the recently completed WOKAM (World Karst Aquifer Map) project, which was implemented as part of WHYMAP (World Hydrogeological Map). The KC significantly contributed to this project, many members of the Scientific Advisory Board and regional experts are KC members. The printed map (1:25 and 1:40 million) was distributed at the congress through the desk of the UNESCO, which had supported many activities during the five years of work on the WOKAM project.
As per the expectations of the Scientific Committee, the old historical city of Dubrovnik – located in heart of classical Dinaric karst – was the right choice,prompting many colleagues to present their achievements and novelties under the congress’ topic T.5 titled “Groundwater in Karst Systems”. This topic comprises six sub-topics: Sustainability of Karst Aquifer Use – Global and Regional Outlooks; Functionality and Control of Groundwater Flow in Karst; Modelling of Flow and Contaminant Transport in Karst; Protection of Karst Sources and Environment; Karst Groundwater Quality and Contamination; and Novel Methods and Techniques for Karst Aquifer Characterisation. During six sessions there were 33 oral presentations, while the poster session included 20 contributions devoted to T.5 topics. Several of the keynote lectures were presented by KC members and/or dealing with karst hydrogeology. Karst aquiferswere also the subject of one of the two workshops that were held prior to the beginning of the conference on “Water Resources Management and Engineering Challenges in Karst Aquifers” (whose conveners were Z. Stevanovic, P. Milanovic and S.Milanovic).

The “Young Karst Researcher Prize” has been established by KC in 2009, and including Dubrovnik 27 young researchers received this award. At the 44th Congress,the Prize Committee was comprised of four karst hydrogeologists who decided to award the three excellent studies presented by Jake Longenecker from USA, GiorgiaLucianetti from Italy and Chen Zhao from Germany.

The annual meeting of the Karst Commission took place on 26 September. The meeting, chaired by the recently appointed KC Chair Zoran Stevanovic, was attended by more than 50 members and friends. An active and fruitful discussion raised many issues such as membership categories, website maintenance, sponsorship, publishing, mid-term meetings and field trips, as well as educational activities. The next annual meeting will take place in Besancon, France during the EUROKARST conference in July 2018.

All six mid-term excursions, as well as the one that took place post-term, included a visit to large springs and karst features in Croatia and the neighbouring countries Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. They were guided by KC members.

Zoran Stevanovic, KC Chairman


Past news items


In September 2016, the KC held its annual meeting at the Eurokarst conference in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. KC co-chair Neven Kresic and KC members Attila Kovacs and Pierre-Yves Jeannin were among the invited keynote lecturers.

The Young Karst Researcher Prizes 2016 were awarded to Timea Havril (Hungary), Axayacatl Maceda (Mexico / Switzerland) and Lorraine Dewaide (Belgium). KC chairman Nico Goldscheider offered a two-day field trip to the glacierised alpine karst system of Tsanfleuron-Sanetsch; KC member Pierre-Yves Jeannin co-organized a field trip to the karst systems of the Swiss Jura Mountains.

In August 2016, the 8th edition of the HYDROKARST training course was held in Yucatan, Mexico, jointly organized by the karst hydrogeology group at the University of Malaga and the group of Latin American Hydrogeologists, and sponsored by UNESCO.

In June 2016, the 3rd international field course “Characterization and Engineering of Karst Aquifers (CEKA)” was held in Trebinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina. The course was organized by the Centre for Karst Hydrogeology, University of Belgrade, and the Geological Survey of the Republic of Srpska, Zvornik, in cooperation with the Northern Arizona University.

Nico Goldscheider


In June 2015, the Karst Commission held its official annual meeting at the “International Conference on Groundwater in Karst” which took place in Birmingham, UK. KC members Pierre-Yves Jeannin (Switzerland), Andreas Hartmann (Germany) and Nico Goldscheider (Germany) were among the invited keynote lecturers of this conference.

The Young Karst Researcher Prizes 2015 were awarded to Amaël Poulain (Belgium), Caroline Dubois (Belgium) & Sandra Oehlmann (Germany). Mid- and Post-Conference field trips led to the Carboniferous, Jurassic and Cretaceous karst aquifer systems of the UK.

In June 2015, the second international course and field seminar Characterization and Engineering of Karst Aquifers (CEKA) was held in Trebinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina. The course was again sponsored by UNESCO and organized by the Centre for Karst Hydrogeology of the Department of Hydrogeology, University of Belgrade and the Geological Survey of the Republic of Srpska, Zvornik. The Course was attended by 21 participants from 8 countries, and lectured by 10 professors, including 6 KC members.

In September 2015, the IAH Congress in Rome was an important event for IAH and its Karst Commission. KC chairman Nico Goldscheider presented a keynote lecture on “Novel experimental and modeling approaches for the characterisation of karst systems”. The KC also organized a well-attended session on Karst Hydrogeology. A field trips guided by KC member Marco Petitta led to the major karst spring supplying Rome with drinking water.

Nico Goldscheider