Technology transfer is achieved through coordinated research programmes, and capacity building to meet water resource challenges, including technical cooperation projects, information and support for Member States.
IAEA Programme 2012–2013
Programme 2.3 Water Resources
Rationale: A recent UN assessment of the MDGs noted that sufficient progress is being made towards the goal of "reducing in half the number of people without access to drinking water". Despite this progress, nearly a billion people would still lack access to any source of safe drinking water. Water supply and water quality problems continue to be two of the topmost development needs in Member States due to multiple sources of stress on resources, including greater needs for food production for an increasing population, irrigated agriculture, energy production, and climate variability and change. A key to increasing the availability and sustainability of water is to develop a comprehensive, scientific assessment of surface and groundwater resources.
Progress on another MDG, which calls for stopping the over-exploitation of water resources, also cannot be easily achieved and documented without the availability of credible resource assessments. In spite of the fact that a need for water resources assessment has been recognized for nearly fifty years, comprehensive national assessments (including groundwater) are still lacking, limiting Member States' ability to fully use their water resources. Thus, the lack of credible and scientifically sound water resource assessments needs to be overcome in order to meet the demands for water supply.
Isotope techniques in hydrology — based upon "fingerprints" of radioactive and stable isotopes in water — help to rapidly and cost-effectively assess water resources. Continued Agency activities in water resources management are necessitated by a lack of sufficient capacity in most countries for using isotope hydrology. Programme priorities are to increase capacity and use of isotopes for assessments. Such data and methodologies are rarely possible without the frameworks of cooperation available through the Agency, which is the only international organization with a mandate to promote the use of isotope and nuclear techniques for peaceful purposes.
Sub Programme 2.3.1: Isotope Data Networks for Hydrology and Climate Studies
Objective: To provide Member States access to global isotope data and mapping products, and disseminate isotope hydrology information through publications and training.
Project 22.214.171.124 IAEA Isotope data networks for precipitation, rivers and groundwater
Project 126.96.36.199 Synthesis and dissemination of global isotope data and related information
Sub Programme 2.3.2: Isotope Based Assessments of Water Resources
Objective: To enable Member States to use isotope techniques for local to national-scale water resources assessments.
Project 188.8.131.52 Assessment of groundwater resources at local/national scales
Project 184.108.40.206 Assessment and strategies for management of transboundary aquifers and rivers
Sub Programme 2.3.3: Radioisotope Applications for Hydrology
Objective: To enable Member States to provide analytical services for isotope hydrology at national and regional levels and access technologies such as noble gas isotope analyses.
Project 220.127.116.11 Characterization of fossil groundwater systems using long lived radionuclides
Project 18.104.22.168 Helium and other noble gas isotopes for estimating groundwater recharge and vulnerability to pollution