SEPTEMBER 24TH - 25TH, 2003. Montevideo, Uruguay. UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas Programme I Coordination Workshop.

Participation in the Workshop was strong, twenty countries being represented of the twenty-four who share aquifers in the Americas, including Haiti and Dominican Republic from Caribbean.

Country presentations provided a broad overview of what is known about transboundary aquifers, the hydro-geological characteristics of groundwater, various water-land use situations, the socio-economic problems related to water, and current water legislation. Concerns over the inadequate use and protection of aquifers and the increasing demand for water in the Americas were raised during the discussion.

The workshop provided an ideal forum for Member States to plan actions in the framework of the UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas Programme. Cited, too, were the benefits of such workshop in the exchange of information and the exploration of sharing of strategies and financial supports.

One of the most important results achieved in the meeting was the identification of nine transboundary aquifers as possible case studies. The aquifers were selected on the basis of their hydro-geological characteristics, amount of information, agreements among country representatives, and other criteria.

Priority case studies will be implemented following the ISARM methodology in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the aquifers as well as guidance for the more appropriate mechanisms of sustainable management.

 facilities in El Paso, Texas, as per the U.S. and Mexican representatives kind invitation.

NOVEMBER  10-12, 2004. The UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas Programme II Workshop at the U.S. International Boundary Water Commission-IBWC. Programme II Coordination Workshop.

In 2004 the ISARM-Americas Steering Committee identified three priority case-studies of transboundary aquifers: the Artibonito and Masacre ones in the Hispaniola Island (Haiti – Dominican Rep.)  as an example of inter-mountainous and coastal transboundary aquifers in small islands developing states; the Yrenda-Toba-Tarijeno aquifer system in the Gran Chaco Americano (Argentina-Bolivia-Paraguay), representing transboundary aquifers in semi-arid zones of South America; and the Hueco Bolson aquifer (Mexico-USA), as an example of transboundary aquifer system in urban areas.


The Committee found that deforestation in the Artibonito basin impacted ecosystems and made them vulnerable to climatic fluctuations. Under the auspices of the UNESCO/OAS ISARM-Americas Programme, the Dominican Republic and Haiti agreed on cooperative work “to sustainably manage the aquifers“. The project will identify technical, legal, scientific and governance gaps and strengthens the institutions responsible for water resource management. It will focus on schemes for managed groundwater recharge, to mitigate the vulnerability of these two countries to extreme climatic conditions, such as hurricanes, high rainfall periods that alternate with extended droughts.


The Yrenda – Toba – Tarijeño Transboundary Aquifer System – SAYTT covers approximately 350.000 km2 of Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay, in the Gran Chaco, where water scarcity is rampant. This study will be addressed within the context of the Project “Framework for the Management of the Water Resources of the La Plata River Basin”, carried out by  Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, in coordination with the Plata Basin Intergovernmental Commission - and supported by UNEP, OAS, and GEF. La Plata Project will seek to identify joint water management priorities and establish a framework to adapt to increasing risks of major floods and droughts, as well as to prevent contamination from sediment loads in the Plata estuary. The Yrenda-Toba-Tarijeño project is being developed with a fund from Italy. UNESCO-IHP is coordinating and supporting member states in the development and/or update of the water balance, water use, and demand in the La Plata Basin. The SAYTT pilot-project will provide a comprehensive understanding of the aquifer system and its function in supporting human needs and environmental sustainability, as well as a guidance for the actions to be taken in other aquifers in the La Plata Basin to establish more sustainable management mechanisms.


Thanks to the contribution of the UNESCO-OAS ISARM Americas Programme in understanding the groundwater resources of the Amazon [1], it is now possible to have a comprehensive approach to the protection and management of the invaluable freshwater resources contained in the Amazonas Transboundary Aquifer System. Following the ISARM Americas Coordination Workshops, the basin countries, and their regional organization ATCO, have in fact come to recognize the need for the integrated, conjunctive management of surface and groundwater, from the overall Amazon basin level down to the single micro-basins or flood plain areas. A better understanding of the ATAS is however necessary to move towards a management framework that would ensure that the strategic roles of groundwater in (i) providing high quality water for human consumption, (ii) sustaining ecosystems, and (iii) mitigating the impacts of climatic fluctuations and change, are taken into full consideration and preserved. This diagnostic reconnaissance of the Amazonas Transboundary Aquifer System will be carried out within the framework of the GEF-UNEP-OAS-ATCO project “Integrated and Sustainable Management of Transboundary Water Resources in the Amazon River Basin”


The Hueco-Bolsón Transboundary Aquifer is shared by Mexico and the U.S.A. and represents an example of urban aquifer in an arid area. It is located to the East and South of the El Paso, and Ciudad Juarez, and bisected by the Rio Bravo.  El Paso and Ciudad Juarez apply a program for the exploitation and protection of the aquifer.. A source of artificial recharge is the Hueco Bolson Recharge Project. Approximately 10 million gallons per day of raw wastewater is treated to potable water standards. Half that amount is then injected into the aquifer. The Hueco Bolson Transboundary Aquifer was designated as an ISARM Americas advanced case study

NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 2, 2005. São Paulo, Brasil, 3rd Coordination Workshop- UNESCO/OAS ISARM Américas. Agenda | Final Report . Programme III Coordination Workshop.

In 2005 in Sao Paulo, during the 3rd. Coordination Workshop (final report Spa Eng ) countries validated the templates with the information of each aquifer and the structure and contents of the I Vol. of the ISARM Americas Series “Transboundary Aquifer of the Americas Preliminary Assessment” were agreed on.

NOVEMBER 20th – 22nd, 2006. San Salvador, El Salvador. The 4th Workshop.  l Final report Spa Eng. Programme IV Coordination Workshop.

 The legal and institutional water framework from each country was presented and analyzed, and agreement was reached on the structure of the II Volume of the ISARM Americas Series “Transboundary Aquifer of the Americas Preliminary Assessment”, the first of 3 volumes to be published by the UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas Programme by 2008. It represents the main outcome of the first phase of the Programme activities and will provide hydrogeological baseline information, gathered during the first three years of activities of the Programme with valuable efforts by the American Member States. It includes synoptic tables for each sub-region, a compilation of geological and hydrogeological information, as well as present use groundwater, expected demand and future scenarios, and sketch-maps for transboundary aquifer systems, together with a geological or hydrogeological section or model, when provided by the countries. It also includes recommendations on sustainable management of the transboundary aquifers of the Americas.


Other three priority case-studies have been selected during these workshops: the Pantanal transboundary aquifer system, shared by Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay, the Ostua-Metapan, between El Salvador and Guatemala and the Rio Negro transboundary aquifer system, between Honduras and Nicaragua.


NOVEMBER 2007. Montreal, Canada.Programme V Coordination Workshop. Final Report l 1st. Book in Spanish

During this event the 1st book of the series UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas “Preliminary Assessment: Transboundary Aquifer Systems in the Americas” was delivered to the ISARM Focal Points.


DECEMBER, 3-5, 2008, Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic. DR Final Report . Programme VI Coordination Workshop. During this workshop the II Book “Legal and Institutional Framework in Transboundary Aquifer Management” (ing) (spa) was delivered to the countries. In the following days National Coordinators and the ISARM Americas Steering Committee agreed in the structure of the III book “Socio-economical and Environmental Aspects in Transboundary Aquifers’ Management”. This third publication is expected to be published during 2009.

September 15-17, 2009, Quito, Ecuador. The VII Coordination Workshop was held with the participation of 20 (of 24) National Coordinators of the countries sharing aquifers in the Americas. The review and validation of the III Book “Socioeconomic and Environmental Aspects in Transboundary Aquifer Systems management” was made leaving it ready for publication in 2010. Final Report..

May 7, 2010 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Fourth Strategy Group Meeting toward the development of a strategy for the Transboundary Aquifer Systems of the Americas (TAS) management, in the framework of the UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas Programme. Agenda...

AUGUST 11-13, 2009. Miami. Second Expert Group Meeting to develop a vision and strategy for the management of the transboundary aquifer of the Americas, under UNESCO/OAS ISARM Americas Initiative (spanish only) Agenda...




This page was last updated on Wednesday September 29, 2010.