The trouble with groundwater is that despite its critical importance to global water supplies, it frequently attracts insufficient management attention relative to more visible surface water sources, irrespective of regional climate, socioeconomic profile, and regulatory environment. To this end, the recently defined sub-discipline of “socio-hydrogeology”, an extension of socio-hydrology, seeks to translate and exchange knowledge with and between non-expert end-users, in addition to involving non-expert opinion and experience in hydrogeological investigations, thus emphasising a “bottom-up” methodology. It is widely acknowledged that issues pertaining to groundwater quality, groundwater quantity, climate change, and a poor general awareness and understanding of groundwater occurrence and movement are global in their scope. Moreover, while effective communication and engagement represent the key tenet of socio-hydrogeology, the authors consider that multiple actors should be identified and incorporated using stakeholder network analysis and may include policymakers, media and communications experts, mobile technology developers, and social scientists, to appropriately convey demographically focused bi-directional information, with the hydrogeological community representing the communication keystone. Accordingly, this article aims to highlight past and current work, elucidate key areas of development within socio-hydrogeology, and offer recommendations to ensure global efficacy of this increasingly important and growing field going forward. The authors seek to assist in protecting our global groundwater resource for future generations via an improved framework for understanding the interaction between communities and hydrogeological systems.
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